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|The Statement of the Javakheti Armenian political activist Vahagn Chakhalyan on his refusal to participate in trial
The public prosecutor demanded 14-year imprisonment and 18 000 lari fine ($10,650) for Vahagn Chakhalyan, 4-year imprisonment and 6000 lari fine ($3550) for Ruben Chakhalyan and 3-year suspended sentence and 3000 lari fine ($1750) for Armen Chakhalyan. The court found Ruben Chakhalyan guilty under article 236.1 (purchase and possession of arms) and article 225.2 (participation in disorders) and imposed to 5,000 lari ($3000) on him. Armen Chakhalyan will have to pay a 2,000 lari ($1,200) fine under article 236.1 (purchase and possession of arms). Chakhalyans are going to appeal the verdict in the court of superior jurisdiction and European Court of Human Rights.
Yerkir Union has labeled the verdicts as a shameful outcome of the legal procedure.
Russian Sentry 18.09.2009
European Authorities Question Georgia About Vahagn Chakhalyan
Silvi Guillaume, the European parliamentarian, wrote a letter to Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy with a request to order EU representatives to monitor in Tbilisi the case of Armenian political activist Vaagn Chakhalyan. According to the MP, Armenians in Georgia suffer language, social and religious discrimination - Tert.am.
The region, where Armenians are the most part of population, is deprived of transit ways, medical and social services, the letter says. The MP added that Chakhalyan, arrested in July 2008, was convicted for 10 years for doubtful reasons, as, in her view, the demands of his movement are of peaceful character.
She also informed the European Commissioner of the appeal on Chakhalyan's case on September 18th, and added that in the course of previous hearings serious violations took place and the activist wasn't even allowed to hire an attorney from France. The parliamentarian reminded that Georgia received EUR 15 mln for reforms of court system, and urged to demand a request on the reforms in that sphere from the Georgian authorities, and take measures to make Tbilisi comply with its obligations, Georgia Times reports.
Vahagn Chakhalyan, who's the leader of the United Javakhk Democratic Alliance, is sentenced to 10 years in prison in Georgia. Ethnic and religious minorities living in Georgia who are victims of discrimination. Most particularly, the Armenian minority suffers language, social and religious discrimination. The region, where the Armenian minority constitutes a majority, is heavily deficient of transit roads, energy, health and social services. Javakh is an Armenian speaking region, Armenians are the majority and non-Armenians also speak Armenian there. However, the Georgian government conducts a campaign of forced Georgianization.
Vahagn Chakhalyan was arrested in July 2008 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for largely questionable charges. Interesting that the man had to be gotten out of the way, like others, just before the attack on South Ossetia. The peaceful demands of his movement are neither independentist nor autonomist and seek recognition of the civil rights of the Armenian minority in Georgia, when that country conducts a policy of assimilation since the dismantling of the Russian military bases in 2005. Vahagn Chakhalyan was transferred from his prison in Tbilisi in a prison in another town, 30 km away, where he fears for his safety, while his appeal is still pending. There have been death threats.
The procedures of arrest, investigation and trial at the court of 1st instance were interspersed with major violations by the judiciary (Justice of Georgia has even denied him the right to have a French lawyer). We cannot leave the Georgian authorities act in contravention of the international conventions on the right to a fair trial, all the more so as Georgia, under EU funding and by the European Neighborhood Policy, has received 15 Million Euro paid for "justice reforms." What is happening to this money and dare they to claim Georgia a "model of democracy"?