European court: convicted Georgian cleric’s right to fair trial not violated

Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze was convicted in 2017 for plotting a murder and illegal possession of firearms. Photo: RFE/RL, 03 Nov 2022 - 15:08, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday published its judgment in the case of Giorgi Mamaladze, the convicted Georgian cleric sentenced to nine years in prison for plotting a murder and illegal possession of firearms, saying his right to fair trial had not been violated.

However, the court also said the closure of his trials to the public had been a violation of the human rights convention, and that public officials and prosecuting authorities had breached the presumption of innocence in their statements over the clergyman, who was arrested in 2017 for plotting of murder of the Georgian Orthodox church patriarch’s personal secretary. 

In its ruling, the court has ordered the Georgian state to pay ₾9,418 ($3,400) plus tax in legal costs and expenses to the applicant, while rejecting his request for a ₾376,304 ($136,000) compensation of material damage and €150,000 for moral damage due to his loss of income. 

Mamaladze was arrested in early February 2017 at the Tbilisi international airport, with police officers discovering cyanide poison in his belongings during the search. The interior ministry later said the clergyman had plotted the murder of Shorena Tetruashvili, the patriarch’s secretary. 

Mamaladze refused to plead guilty and said Tetruashvili and other high-ranking clerics had planned his arrest due to his possession of information about financial violations at the patriarchate.