The Prosecutor’s Office spent more than 12 hours yesterday interrogating archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze in the ‘Matrosov’ prison in Tbilisi, where Mamaladze is being held. Mamaladze was arrested earlier in February and is the main suspect in an alleged plot to poison a high-ranking clergy member in the Georgian Orthodox Church.
The interrogation continued today. It was then postponed due to Mamaladze’s worsening health condition. His lawyers are saying that Mamaladze is sick and has low blood pressure.
The doctor at the prison however did not find it necessary to postpone the interrogation, though it was postponed anyways due to the lawyers’ demands. The investigators from the Prosecutor’s Office think that it was intentional to thwart the investigation.
“As soon as we planned to ask the suspect critical questions, he refused to meet us and once again stated it was due to his health condition. After two examinations the doctors said that his condition was normal, and he could handle being interrogated. This is not the first time that the suspect has thwarted the interrogation,” one of the prosecutors stated.
Archpriest Mamaladze was previously hospitalized at the Chapidze heart clinic on February 18, while during his detention in the Matrosov prison.
Archpriest Mamaladze was arrested by the Prosecutor’s Office on February 10 at Tbilisi International Airport, and found with cyanide in his luggage. He was on route to Berlin, where Patriarch Ilia II was recovering from a gall bladder surgery. At a special briefing, the Prosecutor’s Office explained that the 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.”
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.