(TBILISI)--The Court of Appeals has upheld the previous verdict of the Tbilisi City Court and found Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze guilty of plotting murder as well as of illegal purchase and storage of firearms.
Court Leaves Cleric accused of Attempted Murder in Prison
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, February 14
The archpriest has been sentenced to nine years in prison.
Both the prosecution and the defence intend to appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court.
The prosecution demands the change of the crime motive, and says that the clergyman attempted to kill the Patriarch’s secretary Shorena Tetruashvili for self-interest, as the letter was an obstacle for Mamaladze to get promoted in the patriarchate.
However, both courts stated that plotting of the murder with the use of poisonous substance cyanide was for revenge, as Tetruashvili and Mamaladze disliked each other.
Mamaladze’s lawyer Mikheil Ramishvili claims that the cleric is innocent and that the Georgian court system is unfair.
“If the Supreme Court also delivers an unfair verdict, we will address the European Court of Human Rights,” Ramishvili said.
In early February last year, Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office announced that they had detained archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze, the deputy head of the Patriarchate’s Property Management Service and director general of the Patriarchate’s medical centre, at Tbilisi International Airport, from where he intended to depart for Germany on February 10.
At that time the Patriarch was in Germany, where he was operated on due to bladder-related complications.
Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze said that Mamaladze had attempted to acquire cyanide, and the man from whom he tried to receive the substance (journalist Irakli Mamaladze, the detained archpriest’s close friend and relative) informed the police that the archpriest intended to kill a “high ranking spiritual figure.”
The Office did not say that the person whose murder was allegedly planned was necessarily the Patriarch. However, the Office’s silence for several days and unconfirmed information generated speculation that the target was Patriarch Ilia.
Suspicion grew when Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated that the country had “escaped a huge tragedy.”
Only after several days did the Office stated that the alleged target was the Patriarch’s female secretary Shorena Tetruashvili, and also released a video footage in which Mamaladze spoke about Tetruashvili in a negative context.
He was also heard saying that Tetruashvili is an influential figure in the patriarchate who represents an obstacle for his career.
Mamaladze’s lawyers and family claim the man is innocent and the footage was fabricated.
Some members of the church say that Mamaladze knew about various financial and property-related violations within the church, which is why he was “trapped by some people involved in illegalities.”
They named Patriarch’s secretary Tetruashvili as a “key wrongdoer” and Archbishop Jacob.
The detained archpriest, who was temporarily deprived of the title by the Holy Synod, claimed Tetruashvili asked him to purchase the cyanide to clean icons.