A senior Georgian Orthodox priest has been jailed for the attempted murder of the secretary of the Church’s leader of 40 years, Patriarch Ilia II. Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladse received a nine-year sentence from the City Court in Tbilisi for plotting to poison Shorena Tetruashvili, the patriarch’s long-serving assistant, in what prosecutors said was an attempt to “gain more power” in the Georgian Church. The priest, who headed the Church’s property management service, as well as a church-owned medical centre, was arrested last February at the capital’s international airport. He was carrying cyanide and a pistol in his luggage and was preparing to board a flight to Berlin, where the 84-year-old patriarch was receiving medical treatment.
Georgian newspapers said the case relied on evidence from a journalist with intelligence links, who had secretly recorded the 31-year-old priest requesting help in obtaining the poison. The priest’s defence lawyer insisted Giorgi Mamaladse had not received a fair trial and was ready to take his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.