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Georgian Orthodox Church Reacts to Cartographers’ Release

The Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) reacted late on January 29 regarding the recent release of Iveri Melashvili and Natalia Ilychova, two former civil servants accused of attempted land ceding to Azerbaijan, and expressed hope that “the investigation is proceeding with the same attitude and purpose it started with.”

The powerful institution called on the Georgian authorities to prove that doubts about the case being politically motivated are ill-founded, and to prove its intention “to finish the job.”

In the statement, the GOC noted it is not primarily interested in imprisoning those allegedly responsible for selling out the lands, but rather concerned about whether land ceding is indeed taking place.

But the GOC then went on accusing Melashvili of making upon his release insulting remarks toward a monk of David Gareji Monastery complex, which is located on the disputed Georgian-Azerbaijani border.

Responding to Melashvili, the GOC said: „What has [Melashvili himself] given to his country?… Was not he broadly speaking passing his time rubber-stamping the demands of Azerbaijan?”

The Tbilisi City Court released the two former state experts from pre-trial detention on bail on January 28, after the prosecution unexpectedly filed a motion for their release. The prosecutor said the investigation will now focus on revealing “superiors” that “instructed” Melashvili and Ilychova. The two former civil servants still face ten to fifteen years of prison, as they are charged under Article 308 (1) of the Criminal Code of Georgia, involving “actions directed at the violation of the territorial integrity of the country.”

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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