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The new power is liberating Javakheti2013-01-25 15:55
Political activist from the Armenian-Georgian region of Samtskhe-Javakheti (Armenian version - Javakhk) Chakhalyan, sentenced in 2008 to 10 years in prison, released. As noted by the local observers, the release of Chakhalyan will reduce tensions in Javakheti, which has been steadily increasing during the reign of the former power. The previous government, in the words of local residents, "persecuted disloyal to them political activists", a region was ruled through the "repressive state machine".
As expected, Chakhalyan was released under the general amnesty declared in Georgia. His release has encouraged population of Akhalkalaki, where he came from. However, Javakheti political activist, who is considered by many authoritative international organizations the convicted "for political reasons", was released as an ordinary prisoner. He was not included in the official list of "political prisoners", compiled after the victory of the "Georgian Dream" in the recent parliamentary election.
Yet this is not the only news. Almost simultaneously with the release of the Javakhk activist there was lifted the ban on the entry of Armenian parliament member from the faction of the Republican Party, President of the Patriotic Association "Javakhk" Shirak Torosyan. Former authorities included him into the list of persons, who were forbidden the entry to Georgia for their political stance.
Set to struggle
Local activists are grateful to the Georgian government for the release of Chakhalyan, but at the same time they are hoping that already the former prisoner will get to the list of political prisoners and will be rehabilitated as a "prisoner of conscience". "The possibility of rehabilitation of Chakhalyan as a political prisoner exists. His companions are going to fight for that", the coordinator of the Council of Armenian NGOs of Samtskhe-Javakheti Artak Gabrielyan said in an interview to GTimes.
Chakhalyan himself has already told the media he was full of positive emotions and ready to further struggle. "I call to unite efforts to continue the struggle in order to solve all the pressing problems of Javakhk", said Chakhalyan. List of problems of Javakheti Armenians is quite rich - from reduced hours of teaching of the Armenian language and literature in schools to the protection of historical and cultural monuments in the region from extinction.
According Gabrielyan, Chakhalyan's rehabilitation as a political prisoner gives the opportunity to formally recognize the fact that during the rule of the previous power in Javakheti there existed "political persecution on the basis of fabricated charges". Chakhalyan has become a kind of symbol of the political persecution in the region. "From this point of view, recognition of his actual status is very important", said our source.
From confrontation to cooperation
"Both Chakhalyan's arrest and the ban on my entry to the homeland were unreasonable and absurd. Present Georgian government headed by Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili being in opposition highly criticized the actions of the Saakashvili in relation of the national minorities. Thus, the release of Chakhalyan and removal of the ban on my entry to Georgia must be considered a part of this logic, since the "Georgian Dream" gave this promise more during the election campaign", Armenian MP Shirak Torosyan said in an interview to GTimes.