Arrested Javakhk Leaders Released With Suspended Prison Sentence

TBILISI (Combined Sources)–Two Armenian community leaders from Georgia’s Samtskhe-Javakheti region arrested in late January on espionage, weapons, and conspiracy charges, have been released from custody following a one year suspended prison sentence, Armradio reported on Monday.

Grigor Minasyan and Sergei Hagopjanyan were arrested last on January 28, when Georgian Special Interior Ministry forces, backed up by Tbilisi police, ambushed the two and remanded them to custody in the capital. A Tbilisi court in February charged them with alleged involvement in organizing "armed groups" and spying.

Minasyan–a youth club director– and Hakobjanyan– the director of the "Charles Aznavour" Benevolent Organization–were to remain in custody for two months pending a trial. They were found guilty on Sunday, March 6 and given a suspended one year prison sentence. They were released on 2000 lari bail.

Speaking to Armradio Monday, Minasyan said he “enjoyed the delight of freedom” and accepted the charges lodged against him by the Georgian authorities. “I can only say that I accept the charges against me. I did it unconsciously, without any intention of doing harm to Georgia and Armenia. I had no intention to consciously harm my Motherland, Georgia,” he said, adding that he holds no animosity or hostility towards Georgia.

“Armenia and Georgia are two parts of my heart and my activity was not consciously targeted against their interests, but the investigation has shown that I have committed a crime,” Minasyan said, adding that he could make no more commen’s, as he had pledged not to give any interviews or reveal any details of the case against him and Hokobjanyan.

He also expressed his gratitude to Armenian media for actively covering the development of his arrest. “I wish to express gratitude to all those in Armenia, who sincerely want to help us,” he said.

Accompanied by Georgian policemen, Hakobjanyan and Minasyan returned to Akhaltskha on Sunday, where they visited the only functioning Armenian Church in the region, St. Gregory the Illuminator. The community welcomed them with tears in their eyes, according to Minasyan.

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