President Giorgi Margvelashvili issued an official statement regarding the detention of archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze, who was arrested for an alleged plan to poison with cyanide a high-ranking cleric of the Georgian Orthodox Church. President Margvelashvili commented that the investigation should reveal who ordered the murder.
“I am deeply concerned by the statement today from the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia, regarding a planned assassination attempt of a high-ranking cleric of the Georgian Orthodox Church.
We are in active communication with the Prosecutor’s Office, are following the investigation process, and in the interests of Georgia, we are waiting for a prompt conclusion of the investigation that will answer all questions about the possible offenders and organizers of this crime,” reads the President’s statement,
Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze was arrested by the Prosecutor’s Office on February 10 at Tbilisi International Airport before his planned departure to Berlin. There is public speculation that the target of the assassination attempt was Patriarch Ilia II, who is currently in Germany recovering from a surgery earlier in the month.
"We've avoided a big disaster. We prevented a crime against our country and a deceitful attack on the church," Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili responded. The prime minister said he plans to send his personal security to Berlin in order to protect the Patriarch.
Archpriest Mamaladze denies the allegations. Mitropolit Nikoloz Pachuashvili and other leading clergy members have stated that Patriarch Ilia ll does not believe the archpriest could have planned a poisoning plot.
Prosecutor General Irakli Shotadze stated at a special briefing on February 13 that the Prosecutor’s Office has audio and video evidence, however they will not release the evidence or talk about the details “due to the sensitivity of the case.” The Patriarchate is an influential institution in Georgia and the Patriarch has the highest approval rating of any public figure.
The Prosecutor’s Office says the investigation began on February 2, when an individual approached them with the information that he was asked by Archpriest Mamaladze to help him buy the poison. The Prosecutor’s Office says Archpriest Mamaladze wanted to get the poison before his departure to Berlin.