Tbilisi, May 19, Interfax - Georgian Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze, who is standing trial on attempted murder charges, left the courtroom on Friday to protest the judge's decision to hear his case behind closed doors.
"To protest this decision, I refuse to participate in a trial held behind closed doors and I call on my lawyers to follow my example," Mamaladze said.
The court granted the prosecutors' request for the trial to be held behind closed doors to prevent some intimate details about the personal life of the defendant and other people from being made public.
Mamaladze, however, had insisted on a public trial, saying he had nothing to hide.
The next hearing of is scheduled for May 30.
Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze was detained on February 10 at the Tbilisi International Airport. Law enforcement officers found cyanide, a toxic substance, in his luggage. The investigators determined that Mamaladze was en route to Berlin, where Patriarch Ilia II was undergoing treatment and where people from his entourage, including his assistant Shorena Tetruashvili, were also present at the time. The investigation suspects Mamaladze of planning to use cyanide to poison Tetruashvili, as he considered her an obstacle to his career growth.
During interrogations Mamaladze said he was innocent and that the toxic substance had been planted on him.