Public Defender Publishes Monitoring Report on So-called Cyanide Case

Considering the high public interest towards the archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze case and the constitutional mandate of supervising the protection of human rights and freedoms on the territory of Georgia, the Public Defender considers it relevant to inform public of the main findings of the monitoring of the so-called Cyanide Case.

In the document prepared after monitoring the trials and studying the case materials, the Public Defender reviews the procedural shortcomings in the so-called Cyanide Case. In addition, the Public Defender once again reiterates respect for the court and does not assess the case evidence or the defendant’s guilt, which is the competence of the judge.

The so-called Cyanide Case caused high public interest in 2017, though the investigation and trials were conducted without public control. The Public Defender's Office was the only neutral body that monitored the trials.

According to the Public Defender, despite the fact that the Tbilisi City Court judge held the court hearings without substantive procedural faults, it was impossible to correct the violations made in the investigation process, which made a decisive impact on the court's final verdict.

The Public Defender termed the statements made by representatives of the authorities in relation to Giorgi Mamaladze as a violation of the presumption of innocence. In addition, the preliminary statements of public officials contributed to the creation of public prejudice against Giorgi Mamaladze long before his conviction.

The defense was placed in unequal conditions due to being obliged not to disclose the details of the case, which according to the Public Defender, did not serve the goals of the procedural legislation and was superfluous and unnecessary restriction. The violation of the equality of the parties was more evident when the Prosecutor's Office made the main evidence public and identified witnesses.

Tbilisi City Court and Court of Appeals did not allow the defense to obtain airport camera recordings, which would be neutral evidence in the case. As a result of the decision made by the Prosecutor's Office, the defense was deprived of the opportunity to appoint several examinations, which were also of special importance for the case.

Due to the abovementioned and other shortcomings, a number of important issues were not considered in the guilty verdict, the burden of proof was transferred to the defendant and the reasonable doubt arisen during the assessment of the evidence was directed against the defendant, which contradict the Constitution.

The Public Defender will continue monitoring of the trial of the so-called Cyanide Case in Tbilisi’s Court of Appeal and hopes that other investigations launched by the Prosecutor’s Office into the abovementioned case will be impartial and efficient.

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