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Wednesday, 26 October 2016


Vaagn Chakhalyan as a victim of judicial clownery in Georgia

2009-07-27 14:33

3470.jpegA crucial topic of ethnic relations was not included in "the wide range" of issues US Vice President Joseph Biden has discussed with the Georgian politicians while it was the problem that led Georgians to the civil war with Ossetians and Abkhazians. And the first session on the cassation appeal of Armenian activist Vaagn Chakhalyan who had been put in prison for 10 years wasn't even reported in the Georgian press.

In vain had Vaagn Chakhalyan prepared his ardent appeal: "Georgian authorities try me for all Armenians of Javakh". On July 22 when the examination of the cassation appeal began, Georgia was busy waiting for Biden to come.


Only Armenian mass media were again shocked at total disregard of human rights in Georgia especially when it gets to non-title nations. As early as in April Akhaltsikhi district court passed a damning verdict on United Javakh leader Vaagn Chakhalyan who took part in rallies organized by Georgian Armenians against misappropriation of their churches by the Georgian eparchy and discriminatory policy in the Armenian-populated region. He was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment for storage of arms, organization of mass disorders and resistance against police. His father and younger brother were fined. This all was done to prevent other Javakh Armenians from rallying and demanding anything, be it official appointments or good Armenian schools. No petitions from the

attorneys were accepted in court, there was no eligible Georgian-Armenian interpreter, and the indictee was denied involvement of his French lawyer. After the sentence was pronounced Chakhalyan filed a cassation appeal the court started to examine only in midsummer.

Robert Tatoyan, Erkir union program coordinator was present at the session of Criminal Chamber of Tbilisi Court of Appeal. He reported to that the hearing was just like the one in Akhaltsikhi district court. "The judge dismissed almost all motions of Chakhalyan's lawyers for another expert review of the arms allegedly found at the Chakhalyans'. But when the lawyers stated they would provide for the expert report at their own expense the judge dismissed the second motion too", - Tatoyan told. Tamara Alania, the judge, did not take note of remarks of the lawyers. Georgian-Armenian interpretation again was awful. The indictee was disallowed to read his statement through and it was not filed. "The judge actually expressed her biased and disdainful attitude to Chakhalyan", - Erkir representative remarked.

The next session is scheduled for September 18. "The only thing is clear that Georgian authorities deliberately drag the case out. They are perfectly aware that in search of justice the Chakhalyans and their lawyers are ready to apply to the European Court", - Robert Tatoyan said commenting on the court ruling.

Nevertheless Chakhalyan's statement was made public - in Erkramas newspaper of Russian Armenians with the Armenian political prisoner reminding of the grossest violations committed by the first instance that examined the frame-up case (as he believes). It particularly concerns Akhaltsikhi court that "refused to present all witnesses, to summon and interrogate Akhalkalak police chief Samvel Teprosyan and his son".

Vaagn writes that the authorities illegally transferred the proceedings to Akhaltskhi though it was supposed to be heard in Akhalkalak according to jurisdiction. "My younger brother was illegally detained for four and a half months", "my friends and associates were intimidated". Finally "I was denied the service of my French lawyer Patrick Arapyan contrary to the law and when this decision was contested by the defense the law was modified and the provision allowing foreign lawyers to provide for judicial defense in Georgia was cancelled".

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