Group of Georgian MPs want arrest warrant for extremist priest lifted

Tbilisi, 16 October: Guram Sharadze and about 30 other members of parliament, including Davit Salaridze [opposition Burjanadze- Democrats bloc member], Dimitri Jaiani as well as members of the Revival parliamentary group, have appealed to the Supreme Court of Georgia to rescind an order by Vake-Saburtalo district court in Tbilisi for defrocked Orthodox priest Basil Mkalavishvili to be remanded in custody for three months. Mkalavishvili is under investigation for his role in the destruction of Jehovah’s Witnesses literature two years ago.

At a news conference on Thursday [16 October], Sharadze said that Gldani parishioners had appealed to Supreme Court Chairman Lado Chanturia to review the case.

Sharadze said that Mkalavishvili was innocent and he had just been fighting against forces whose activities were categorically unacceptable to both Georgia and the Orthodox Church. He added that Mkalavishvili had not even been involved in the burning of literature belonging to Jehovah’s Witnesses and that there were about 900 eyewitnesses who would confirm that.

Mkalavishvili returned to his congregation on Tuesday [14 October] on the religious holiday of Svetitskhovloba.

The law-enforcement authorities put Mkalavishvili on their wanted list four months ago.

Gldani-Nadzaladevi district police chief Temur Anjaparidze has told Prime-News that the arrest warrant for Mkalavishvili is still in force and he will be arrested if he appears in public.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
BBC Monitoring / Prime-News, Georgia
Oct. 16, 2003
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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday October 18, 2003.
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