Two Javakhk Leaders Arrested in Georgia

AKHALKALAK (A-Info)–Two leaders of Armenian organizations in Javakhk were arrested Thursday by Georgian interior ministry forces on charges of their alleged membership in so-called militant groups, reported the Council of Armenian Organizations of Samtskhe-Javakheti.

According to reports, at around 1:40 p.m. Council member and director of the Armenian youth center Grigor (Grisha) Minasyan’s vehicle was stopped near Asbindza, while he was en-route from Akhalkalak to Akhaltskha, and he was taken into custody by Georgian Interior Ministry forces. During the arrest police from Tbilisi, who had traveled all the way to Akhalkalak handcuffed Minasyan and videotaped the entire process.

At around 2 p.m. the same day, the same interior ministry forces arrested Sergey Hagopjanyan. Hagopjanyan, who was attending a funeral at the time of his arrest, is the chairman of the Charles Aznavour Relief Organization.

The Tbilisi police raided their residences but found nothing. The two were moved to a prison facility in Tbilisi. The Council of Armenian Organizations immediately retained counsel and has reported the incident to Georgia’s Human Rights Defense Committee.

Prior to the arrests, at around 1 p.m., the same group of interior ministry forces raided the Akhalkalak Youth Center, where young children were at dance practice. The law enforcement agents confiscated cell phones from instructors and students and placed the center under lockdown. The children were forced to stay in the center for three hours, during which the Special Forces confiscated the center’s computer hard drives and several books from the library and took photos of the library and its contents.

The Armenian community gathered at the Armenian Youth Center in Akhalkalak for a rally where leaders urged the residents to remain calm and refrain from instigation provocation.

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