Georgian Leaders Shocked by Alleged Murder Plot Involving ‘High-Ranking Cleric’
The murder plot allegations involving “a high-ranking cleric” drew a wide response among Georgian politicians.
Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze said on February 13 that Archdeacon Giorgi Mamaladze was arrested before departing for Germany, where Illia II, Patriarch of Georgia’s Orthodox Church, is undergoing medical treatment.
Shotadze, however, refrained from specifying whether the target was the Patriarch himself.
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili released a statement shortly after Shotadze’s briefing, thanking the law enforcement agencies for “acting promptly” and preventing “a treacherous attack on the Church, an act against the country.”
Kvirikashvili added that he has been personally “overseeing” the matter since he was first briefed by the law enforcement agencies.
“Given the extraordinary nature of this situation,” Kvirikashvili stated, PM’s personal bodyguards were sent to Berlin, together with the Head of the Special State Protection Service, “to provide additional security guarantees on the spot.”
Prime Minister also said that it is “imperative” to ensure “a thorough and professional” investigation into the case.
He also announced that he would travel to Berlin and meet the Patriarch before joining the Munich Security Conference.
“Most importantly, according to the doctors, the operations proved successful and the Patriarch is feeling well. I sincerely wish him speedy recovery and length of days for the benefit of our people and country,” he added.
Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze, who commented briefly on the issue, thanked the police as well and expressed hope that the investigation would end soon.
Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani said on February 13 that “a tragedy” has been averted, which could lead to destabilization both in the Church and the country.
Likewise, Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze said that the “the well-calculated plan” targeted “not only the Orthodox parish, but the entire country, its institutions, law enforcement agencies and peace and stability.”
President Margvelashvili, who also issued a statement on February 13, said that he is “deeply concerned” to hear the news.
He, however, added that he is expecting the investigation to be over “promptly” and “that answers to all question will be given, on possible offenders, as well as on those who ordered the crime.”
The Orthodox Patriarchate, said in its statement on February 13 that the arrest of Giorgi Mamaladze was “completely unexpected” and added that it cannot give any further comments before the end of the investigation citing “lack of information.”