Prosecutors Arrest Priest for ‘Planning Murder of a High-Ranking Cleric’
Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze said at his special press briefing on February 13 that the Prosecutors Office arrested Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze on February 10 on charges of planning “a murder of a high-ranking cleric.”
Shotadze stated that the investigation was launched on February 2 based on the information provided by “certain citizen,” who informed the Prosecutor’s Office that Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze had asked for his help in procuring natrium cyanide, a poisonous chemical substance, which Mamaladze intended to use for murdering the high-ranking cleric. The latter’s name, however, was not identified by Shotadze.
The Chief Prosecutor added that Giorgi Mamaladze asked the whistleblower to obtain cyanide “as soon as possible” and promised monetary payment and “unlawful benefits” in exchange. “As it turned out, Mamaladze planned to leave for Germany, where the Patriarch is undergoing medical treatment and he needed the poisonous substance before departure,” Shotadze stated.
The Chief Prosecutor added that Mamaladze, who served as the Director General at the Georgian Patriarchate’s St. Joachim and St. Ann Medical Center, “had regular access to the Georgian Patriarch and his closest circle,” due to his work. “According to the evidence gathered at this moment, Mamaladze planned a murder of one of the persons,” Shotadze added.
For that purpose, the Chief Prosecutor stated, Mamaladze purchased cyanide from a person, “unknown to investigation.”
Mamaladze was arrested by the prosecutors at the Tbilisi International Airport as he tried to leave for Germany. The chemical substance natrium cyanide was found in his luggage, Shotadze explained.
The Chief Prosecutor added that police officers also retrieved an unregistered handmade firearm in Mamaladze’s apartment.
Responding to journalists’ questions, Shotadze refrained from identifying the interest of Mamaladze’s intentions. “I am not naming anyone because the investigation is underway. There are other versions, so I ask for patience,” he said.
He also added that “for protecting the security of the Georgian Patriarch,” Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili decided to send Anzor Chubinidze, the head of the Special State Protection Service – the agency in charge of providing security to high-ranking officials and state facilities, to Berlin, Germany.