Tbilisi, September 5, 2017
After several months of closed proceedings, the Tbilisi city court found Archpriest George Mamaladze guilty of the attempted murder of the secretary of His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II Shorena Tetruashvili. It was originally believed that he was plotting the murder of the patriarch himself, although it later became clear that this was not the case.
The archpriest was initially charged with premeditated attempted murder with mercenary purposes, although the judge removed the mercenary component today, finding him guilty of premeditated attempted murder, reports agenda.ge.
As a correspondent of Interfax-Religion reports, the court sentenced Fr. Mamaladze to nine years in prison. He was also sentenced to two years for the illegal possession of firearms, but according to the Georgian criminal code, the more severe sentence absorbs the lesser sentence when imposing a final sentence for cumulative crimes.
Judge Besik Bugianishvili declared the verdict this morning. Fr. George himself did not attend the proceedings, interpressnews.ge reports.
Attorneys for the priest consider the conclusions of the investigation to be completely absurd, and believe it is a reprisal on the part of several patriarchal representatives and active Georgian authorities, whom the archpriest, serving as the deputy manager of the patriarchal estate two years ago, accused of large-scale corruption.
“The court made an unfair decision and, in fact, granted the prosecution’s request to imprison Fr. George. It’s a catastrophe. We will definitely appeal the verdict in an appellate court, and if necessary, in the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights,” lawyer Michael Ramishvili told journalists.
Fr. George was arrested on February 10 at the Tbilisi airport with cyanide found in his luggage, intending to fly to Berlin where Patriarch Ilia was undergoing gallbladder surgery. This led to initial reports suggesting that the patriarch himself was the actual target, although it later became clear that his assistant, who had also been in Berlin, was the target.