The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has launched an investigation into the assault against the camera crew of the Mtavari TV, and Iveri Melashvili, former Head of the Service of Georgian State Border Delimitation, Demarcation and Border Relations of the Department of Neighboring Countries at the Foreign Ministry.
An investigation has been launched into the fact of violence.
“The Ministry of Internal Affairs has launched an investigation into the incident in Davit Gareji under Article 126, on the fact of violence”, the MIA said.
Yesterday, on May 4, Mtavari TV reported that their camera crew and Iveri Melashvili were attacked in Davit Gareji, a rock-hewn Georgian Orthodox monastery complex located in the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia, by the local clerics who got irritated by their presence on the ground.
Melashvili later said that the clerics who assaulted him and the camera crew were under the influence of alcohol.
“The case clearly showed that it was orchestrated by someone,” Melashvili told Palitranews.
The clerics were also presumably irritated by Melashvili’s previous statements regarding the disputed territory of the Davit Gareji complex.
“How can something be yours when actually it is not? You have no reason to say so, but it doesn’t matter, be it a monk or a public figure, if they go and start posing in front of the cave monasteries, and then you say ‘It is mine,’ that is not right, it is not yours,” Iveri Melashvili told TV Pirveli back in January regarding the Davit Gareji case.
Later, he explained that he made the above statement in response to those making “pseudo patriotic statements regarding the Davit Gareji Monastery complex.”
Melashvili and Natalia Ilychova, accused of committing actions against the territories of Georgia, indictees in the Davit Gareji Monastery Complex case, were released on 20,000 GEL bail in January 2021.
The POG investigation established 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, the POG noted.
If found guilty by the court, both defendants face imprisonment from ten to fifteen years.
Davit Gareji is a rock-hewn Georgian Orthodox monastery complex located in the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia, on the half-desert slopes of Mount Gareja, some 60–70 km southeast of Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. The complex includes hundreds of cells, churches, chapels, refectories and living quarters hollowed out of the rock face.
Part of the complex is located in the Agstafa region of Azerbaijan and has become subject to a border dispute between Georgia and Azerbaijan.