“The prosecution will be uncompromising. The defendants will face the facts in the court and will have to give real answers. They face up to 15 years in prison,” Prosecutor Jarji Tsiklauri told Georgian Public Broadcaster about the Davit Gareji case.
Jarji Tsiklauri believes that the statements of Iveri Melashvili after his release on bail are a confession.
Iveri Melashvili says that lawfully the Davit Gareji monastery complex is not the territory of Georgia. However, according to the prosecutor, it was him and the demarcation delimitation commission operating in 2006-2007 who cleared the ground for this circumstance.
Iveri Melashvili said yesterday that it is wrong to start the negotiation process by directly claiming that something is yours.
“What is negotiation? Negotiation is that you start from the beginning, from some stage. You agree on details and slowly follow step by step. When you accentuate and decide it is mine, whatever happens, you must have ground to prove it is yours. It is not right to tell the other side it is yours because some monk or citizen come to pose in front of [Davit Gareji] cells. It is not yours, and they will never give it up. We had a chance before, but you spoil everything, accentuate and make your partner country hostile,” Iveri Melashvili said.
Iveri Melashvili and Natalia Ilychova, indictees in the Davit Gareji Monastery Complex case, were released on bail on January 28. The bail was set at GEL 20,000 for each defendant.
The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia launched a probe against Iveri Melashvili, Head of the Service of Georgian State Border Delimitation, Demarcation and Border Relations of the Department of Neighboring Countries at the Foreign Ministry, and Natalia Ilychova, Chief Inspector of the Land Border Defense Department of the Border Police last year. POG accused them of conspiring to cede lands to Azerbaijan.
POG Investigation found that Melashvili and Ilychova hid the 1938 map and used the 1970-80s maps instead. As a result, Georgia lost 3,500 hectares of land. The hidden 1937-1938 original map was found in Natalia Ilichova’s office, POG noted. Both defendants face imprisonment from ten to fifteen years.