Tbilisi court sentences priest found guilty of trying to kill patriarch's secretary to 9 years
TBILISI. Sept 5 (Interfax) - The Tbilisi City Court found archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze guilty of an attempt at the premeditated murder of Shorena Tetruashvili, the secretary to the patriarch, as well as of illegal possession of weapons, following a months-long trial behind closed doors, on Tuesday.
The court sentenced Mamaladze to nine years of imprisonment, an Interfax correspondent reported.
Mamaladze's lawyers said they believe that investigators' conclusions are utter nonsense and that certain representatives of the patriarchate and the current Georgian authorities initiated a "reprisal" against their client, as he had accused them of massive corruption, while serving as the deputy administrator of the patriarchate's property two years ago.
"The court rendered an unfair judgment and actually upheld the prosecution's request for Father Giorgi's imprisonment. It's a disaster. We will certainly appeal the sentence to the appeals court and, if necessary, to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, as well," lawyer Mikheil Ramishvili told reporters.
Law enforcement officers detained Mamaladze at the Tbilisi International Airport on February 10. They found cyanide, a toxic substance, in his luggage. According to the prosecution, Mamaladze was en route to Berlin, where Patriarch Ilia II was expecting surgery on his gallbladder, and other church officials, including Tetruashvili, were also present at the time.
Investigators believe that Mamaladze illegally purchased cyanide from an unidentified person and was planning to use it to poison Tetruashvili in Berlin for hindering his career advancement.