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Chakhalyan remains prisoner for other people’s education2009-11-03 10:02
The Georgian Court of Appeal upheld the verdict in respect of Javakh activist Vahagn Chakhalyan sentenced for 10 years of imprisonment. The case was thoroughly watched by observer of Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations of France. However, the breaches of human rights were never cured. By all means, Georgia decided to keep the Armenian behind the bars for the education of those who might venture to assert the rights of national minorities.
The decision made by the Georgian Court of Appeal was quite expected. The verdict in respect of Javakh political activist Vahagn Chakhalyan sentenced for 10 years of imprisonment, as well as in respect of his family members, his father and his younger brother who were fined, remains in force.
This time, the court session went on rather quickly. The judges listened to the speeches delivered by Chakhalyan's barristers, Nino Andriashvili, a Georgian, and citizen of Armenia Stepan Voskanyan. The verdict was delivered after a twenty-minute discussion. Now the barristers are going to challenge it in Supreme Court and then send the lawsuit to Strasbourg Human Rights Court.
Let us remind you that Vahagn Chakhalyan was convicted for the arrangement of disorders, resisting the police and keeping of weapons.
The barristers are sure that the pistol was planted on him. The courts of the first and second instances refused to carry out the fingerprint analysis of the weapon. The Court of Appeal of Georgia also preferred to do without it, for within two months between the first and the second session, it failed to find a person who would carry the material evidence to the laboratory.
According to newspaper Erkramas, barrister Andriashvili was never allowed to be present at the expertise. As it turned out, there were no Chakhalyan's fingerprints on the pistol, which fact was attributed to the long term of its storage, while the holster and the convict's pants came in contact with each other, as the experts say.
Ultimately, Andriashvili decided not to put the results of the mentioned expertise on the evidence list, for she did not believe them. As to the judges, they did not even remember about them, though the belonging of the weapon to an Armenian activist is one of the main charges.
Two weeks ago, Chakhalyan refused to take part in the sessions. Well, this can be easily explained: the hearing was practically not interpreted from Georgian into Armenian.
According to a correspondent of radio Voice of Armenia, "the judges and the Georgian barristers deliver several-minute speeches, while the interpreter just listens and interprets one sentence and a half". When asked to translate something by the Armenian-language participants of the session, the interpreter either said that it was "insignificant" or paid with one or two words. "Besides, the judges discussed the matters loudly with each other, so one could hardly make anything out in such noise".
Moreover, the authorities never admitted Patrick Arapyan, Chakhalyan's French barrister, to the hearing. However, the whims of the Georgian justice were carefully watched by lawyer of the French Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations, expert for the Office of Legal Affairs, Council of Europe Philippe Kalfayan.
It was after his criticism that the expertise was held upon the weapon, though he did not manage to influence the rest of the breaches in the course of the process. Kalfayan supposed that such attitude to the Armenians could be attributed to the latest Russian-Georgian war when the Javakh Armenians refused to take part in military actions as part of the Georgian army.