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Priest convicted in Georgian Church poison plot released early

15 February 2024
Archpriest Giorgi Mamladze being released from prison. Image via IPN.

An archpriest convicted of plotting the murder of the Georgian Patriarch’s secretary-referent, Giorgi Mamladze, has been released from prison two years early.

On Wednesday, the archpriest’s brother, Tornike Mamaladze, announced his brother’s release after serving seven years out of his nine-year sentence.

‘After seven years of suffering and waiting, my brother deacon Giorgi is free!’ wrote Mamaladze on Facebook.

Mamaladze’s family and supporters have been actively campaigning for his release since 2019, when they claimed that the archpriest suffered from a stroke leading his right arm and leg to become paralysed.

Mamaladze had served his sentence while receiving treatment in a prison facility since February 2019.

Mamaladze was arrested in February 2017 on charges of attempting to poison Shorena Tetruashvili, Patriarch Ilia II’s secretary-referent, with cyanide. Tetruashvili was at the time rumoured to be a powerful figure within the Church, earning the nickname the ‘Black Cardinal’ among some.

Mamaladze has denied the allegations and maintained his innocence since.


[Read on OC Media: Georgian archpriest found guilty in ‘Church poison plot’]

Since his arrest, Mamaladze’s supporters have claimed that he may have been framed; in early 2017, Metropolitan Petre Tsaava suggested that Mamaladze’s case was an attempt to distract people from corruption within the institution.

‘Life goes on, the fight goes on’

On Saturday, opposition TV station Mtavari Arkhi published a document dating back to October 2022, allegedly signed by Tetruashvili, stating that she consented to Mamaladze being released into house arrest or having his sentence commuted.

Mtavari Arkhi shared a document allegedly signed by Shorena Tetruashvili stating that she consents to reducing Giorgi Mamaladze’s sentence.

On Wednesday, Keti Chutlashvili, a lawyer from the Social Justice Centre, told TV Pirveli that they had appealed to the Special Penitentiary Service to release Mamaladze after he had served most of his sentence.

Chutlashvili said that the Special Penitentiary Service approved Mamaladze’s release after evaluating his behaviour, health condition, and Tetruashvili’s statements.

The Social Justice Center confirmed to OC Media that the Penitentiary Service had commuted the remainder of Mamaladze’s sentence.

After his release, Mamaladze told journalists that he would prioritise his health and prove his innocence.

‘Thanks to everyone, life goes on, the fight goes on. A large part of society knows the truth’, he said.

The Public Defender’s Office praised Mamaladze’s release, stating they had recommended releasing him into house arrest or releasing him on parole three months ago.

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