Georgian Orthodox Church

Archpriest Arrested in Poisoning Case Admitted to Hospital

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The Archpriest who was arrested in an alleged plot to poison a high-ranking clergy member in the Georgian Orthodox Church earlier in February has been transferred to Chapidze heart clinic, after having fainted. Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze was being held in the ‘Matrosov’ prison in Tbilisi.

According to Doctor Zaza Lazarashvili, Mamaladze’s condition is stable and he is under additional examination. “Within the next 24 hours there will be different kinds of examinations and once all the results are analysed, we will make a decision regarding what kind of treatment the patient needs,” Doctor Lazarashvili said.

Archpriest Mamaladze was arrested by the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia on February 10 at Tbilisi International Airport, and found with cyanide in his luggage. He was on route to Berlin, Germany, where the Patriarch of Georgia, Ilia II, is recovering from a gall bladder surgery.  At a special briefing on February 10, the Prosecutor’s Office explained that an investigation began a week earlier when an individual approached them claiming that Archpriest Mamaladze had asked for help to obtain cyanide. The Prosecutor’s Office says Mamaladze wanted to get the poison before his departure to Berlin. Prosecutor General Irakli Shotadze said his office has audio and video evidence to support their claims, but will not release the evidence or talk about any details “due to the sensitivity of the case.” The Georgian Orthodox Church is one of the most influential institutions in the country.

Two days ago, on February 16, the Prosecutor’s Office press service told the media outlet Rezonansi that Archpriest Mamaladze is charged with the intention to murder “an individual” from the Patriarch’s surrounders, but not the Patriarch, as was widely speculated. The Prosecutor’s Office says that their statement was wrongly understood by the government, clerics, and society, Rezonansi reports. They did not specify further who was the target of the alleged planned poisoning.

The parliamentary minority party, Movement for Liberty - European Georgia, has demanded for the resignation of General Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze, saying that over the past week he has emotionally stressed society and undermined the prestige of Georgian Orthodox Church.

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