Yezids Protest Against Detention of Their Religious Leader

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Yezids of Armenia’staged a picket rally in Yerevan’s Liberty Square on Wednesday protesting against the detention of their religious leader Zakar Kalashov by Moscow police. Kalashov is being charged with possession of drugs.

"Kalashov is a citizen of Russia–but he was born in Shamiram village of the Aragatsotn region," said chairman of the Union of national minorities of Armenia Vladimir Chatoyev. "We decided to protest against these actions–which–we believe–are illegal as we are sure that Kalashov has never had any relation to drugs. The police simply set him up," he added. Chatoyev also reported that Yezids of Armenia have applied to the Russian embassy in Armenia and law enforcement agencies.

According to attorney Tigran Janoyan–who also attended the demonstration–the detention of Kalashon "is a rude violation of human rights." Noting that the judicial proceedings in connection with Kalashov’s case is being artificially protracted–the attorney did not rule out that political reasons may be behind the detention.

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