2017-05-08 15:55:00

Georgian priest accused of murder attempt goes on trial in Tbilisi

Tbilisi, May 8, Interfax - The Tbilisi City Court on Friday began proceedings against archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze accused of trying to kill the Patriarch's Secretary Shorena Tetruashvili.

Father Giorgi was held at Tbilisi's international airport on February 10 this year. He was about to fly out to Berlin where Patriarch Ilia II was undergoing medical treatment at the time. His secretary Tetruashvili was also with him there.

Law enforcement officers searched Mamaladze's luggage and found cyanide. Prosecution officials told journalists that Mamaladze was detained after one his relatives, Irakli Mamaladze, had sent prosecutors a video recording of Mamaladze intending to poison Tetruashvili, who in his view had total control of affairs in the patriarchy and stood in the way of his career growth.

All charges are baseless, Mamaladze's lawyers told journalists. "We demand closure of the criminal case against Giorgi Mamaladze and his full acquittal," his lawyer Mikheil Ramishvili told journalists.

The prosecutor's petition for the trial to be held behind closed doors is totally unsubstantiated, Ramishvili said.

Meanwhile, Prosecutor Jarji Tsiklauri told journalists that investigators had irrefutable evidence of Mamaladze's guilt. "As well as the video recording, we have incriminating evidence obtained from Mamaladze's personal telephone. We are certain that Mamaladze's guilt will be proved in the court," Tsiklauri said.

On Friday the court was to set a trial date and consider petitions from the defense lawyer and the prosecutor. Mamaladze earlier pleaded not guilty to all charges.