Public Defender’s Statement on Giorgi Mamaladze’s Case
The Public Defender of Georgia is responding to the President's refusal to pardon Giorgi Mamaladze and once again reminds public of the substantive shortcomings identified in the investigation and trial of the cyanide case, which have repeatedly served as basis for the Public Defender’s statements on the issue of pardoning of Giorgi Mamaladze.
As far as the public is aware, the court found Giorgi Mamaladze guilty of planning to murder Shorena Tetruashvili, secretary of the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia. However, at the early stage of the case, MPs, the Prime Minister, the Justice Minister and other senior officials indicated that Giorgi Mamaladze was planning to assassinate the Patriarch. At a news briefing held today, the President once again hinted at Patriarch’s murder attempt, something not considered during the investigation or trial.
As a result of fully studying both the investigation and the closed trial, the Public Defender published a monitoring report indicating the procedural shortcomings of the investigation that were not rectified during the trial and had a decisive impact on the final outcome of the trial, namely:
- Violation of the presumption of innocence by various officials contributed to the formation of negative public attitude towards the defendant prior to the delivery of the verdict
- Imposition of the duty of non-disclosure on the lawyers and the complete closure of the trial did not serve the purposes set out in the legislation and put the defense in an unequal situation
- Violation of the equality of arms became even more significant in light of the continued disclosure of evidence by the prosecution in its interests
- The City Court and the Court of Appeal unjustifiably restricted the defense to obtain the main neutral evidence of the case - airport video recordings
- As a result of the actions of the prosecution, it became impossible for the defense to conduct several forensic examinations
- As a result of these and other significant deficiencies, the Public Defender considered that the conviction was not sufficiently substantiated, the burden of proof was shifted on the defendant and the reasonable suspicion arising from the assessment of the evidence was directed against the defendant.
Given these circumstances, the Public Defender has been supported pardoning of Giorgi Mamaladze for years, including during her membership of the Pardon Commission. Following the abolition of the Pardon Commission, the Public Defender urged the President to consider pardoning of Giorgi Mamaladze as soon as appropriate procedures were approved.
The Public Defender regrets the decision of the President of Georgia, which has left the legal deficiencies in Giorgi Mamaladze’s case without proper assessment.