Georgian Patriarch calls for “joint investigation” of assassination attempt
The government and church authorities must come together to jointly investigate the case of Giorgi Mamaladze, head of the Georgian Christian Orthodox Church Illia II said at a meeting with president Giorgi Margvelashvili, referring to a Georgian priest accused of plotting to poison “a high-ranking member of Georgian clergy”.
“The situation is nothing like anything our church has ever had to deal with. And this is the problem of the state, as well as of the church itself. This is why the government must get involved,” the Catholicos Patriarch said.
President Margvelashvili said after the meeting the presumption of innocence had been violated in this case.
“Everybody must be given a chance to speak up and to defend their side of the story,” he said. “The law-enforcement bodies should be allowed to do their job unimpeded by any political interferences, whereas Father Giorgi [Mamaladze] and his lawyer must have an opportunity to tell their story to the public.”
Mamaladze is going to break his silence and testify one of these days, his lawyer said.
Catholicos Patriarch Illia II came back to Tbilisi on February 20, after undergoing a gall bladder surgery in a hospital in Berlin.
Chief of the Georgian Church’s property management service Giorgi Mamaladze was arrested in the Tbilisi airport on February 10, just as he was about to board a plane to Berlin. The prosecutor’s office accused Mamaladze of possessing poison which it claimed he was going to use to kill “a high-ranking member of clergy”. In the wake of the arrest, the Patriarch’s security service was put on high alert in Berlin.
Prime minister and other members of the Georgian government said a grave crime had been prevented. Later, however, the prosecutor’s office said it was not the Patriarch that Mamaladze had plotted to assassinate.
On February 20, the gag order on the case was lifted, as Mamladze’s lawyer Mikhail Ramishvili revealed that the prosecution had charged his client with attempting to assassinate the Patriarch’s secretary Shorena Tetruashvili. “Nothing ever threatened the Patriarch,” he promised.
On February 17, Giorgi Mamaladze was moved from prison to a hospital due to a health issue. Doctors say he is stable now but needs to undergo additional medical examinations.