Chakhalyan Released from Georgia Prison

Freed political prisoner Vahagn Chakhalyan (center) visits Holy Etchmiadzin church in Tbilisi after his release

AKHALKALAK, Javakhk—Georgian authorities on Thursday released Georgian-Armenian activist Vahagn Chakhalyan, who was serving a 10-year sentence for alleged weapons possession and inciting unrest, his lawyers reported.

Chakhalyan was arrested by Georgian authorities on July 21, 2008. He was given a 10-year sentence for “organization of large-scale events, public disturbance, hooliganism and illegal possession of weapons,” based on falsified evidence. Vahagn Chakhalyan’s case is currently being studied at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Chakhalyan, accompanied by friends and colleagues who were gathered at the prison, went to the Holy Etchmiadzin Church in Tbilisi, where he was greeted by the Primate of the Georgian Diocese Bishop Vasgen Mirzakhanyan.

Chakhalyan was greeted at the church by Armen Gevorgyan and Ruben Shekoyan, two Armenian political prisoners who were released on January 13 in accordance with a parliamentary amnesty decision.

His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians also spoke to Chakhlyan by phone, sending his blessings to the newly released activist.

Chakhalyan left the Tbilisi church and headed home to Akhalkalak, Javakhk.

Head of the “Strong Homeland” party, Shirak Torosyan, told Yerkir Media that Georgian-Armenian organizations, as well as the Georgian Diocese played a large role in securing Chakhalyan’s release.

“We are encouraged by the new Georgian government’s recent release of Vahagn Chakhalyan and other Armenian activists, from Javakahk and across Georgia, who were improperly jailed simply for the free expression of their ideas and aspirations,” said Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

“We welcome these first signs of a more tolerant and pluralist atmosphere in Georgia, and hope that a new, positive approach to the nation’s ethnic and civic diversity will open the door to the cooperative and comprehensive solutions needed to bring about enduring improvements for the Armenian population and all of Georgia’s citizens,” added Hamparian.

During a visit to Armenian last week, Georgia’s Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said the “ball is now in my court,” to fulfill campaign promises regarding the improvement of conditions for the Armenian population of Javakhk.

Speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian service, Ivanishvili pledged to do his best to improve the situation in Georgia’s Javakhki region mainly populated by Armenians. Most of them voted for his Georgian Dream alliance in the October elections.

“The Georgian opposition has never received so many ethnic Armenian votes before,” said Ivanishvili. “I want to again thank [Javakhk Armenians.] I gave them many promises. I won’t list those promises now. But I guarantee that the ball is now in my court.”


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    • Gourgen said:

      Ivanishvili is the Prime Minister. I say les wait and see if this man is honest.

    • winny said:

      Don’t jump the gun! He’s not the president yet, just the PM. NATO’s puppet is still on the big chair.

  1. GB said:

    Prime Mintier Ivanishvili should promote Mr. Vahagn Chakhalyan as a MP for Javakhki Armenians!!

  2. Shant Melkonian said:

    There’s a unique politician… who actually delivers on his campaign promises! Thanks to all involved in the release process.

  3. Ani said:

    Please inform me if anything had been done by ANC when he was in prison. I do not recall anything. At that time Mr. Sahagashvili was giving a gold medal while he was visiting Armenia by our wise president. Very pathetic and sad.

  4. Somon Dedeyan said:

    His strugle was sacred.
    His condemnation was unjust.
    Our efforts were big, but hopeless.
    His courrage was great,
    and the liberation came peacefully,
    to the satisfaction of all of us,
    and for our people in Javakhk.

    His Supporter,

    Simon Dedeyan

  5. Simon Dedeyan said:

    2nd Issue

    His strugle was sacred.
    His condemnation was unjust.
    Our efforts were big, but hopeless.
    His courrage was great,
    and the liberation came peacefully,
    to the satisfaction of all of us,
    and for our people in Javakhk.

    His Supporter,

    Simon Dedeyan

  6. Alexander said:

    Let’s if it will last…After all first place he visited since his victory was Axe.ri.esh.istan!

  7. Roland said:

    I fear for the safety of our brothers and sisters in Javaxk I don’t understand how much more injustice can our people take, but in any case let us not get fooled and let our guard down like 1915 stay ready to support our kin when called upon

  8. freejavahkh said:

    I consider Georgians a quite.. um.. not so smart nation. Somehow they have decided Armenians are their enemies and gone to bed with Turks and Azeris. Their oppression of the Ossetians is also wrong. The Georgians remind me of Chechens and Cherkessians, and that’s not a compliment. Just surf youtube video comments for a while and you will see the unprovoked Georgian anti-Armenianism. Armenians on the other hand are not anti-Georgian, never been.

    I support South Ossetian freedom from Georgian oppression!

    • Roland said:

      I disagree with u when you said that Georgians are not so smart because not only are they really smart but also clever and opportunistic people, sense the beginning they have always used others to fight their battles and to this day this clever people have a better position then we do and have a portion of our homeland in their possession which they feel slipping away so they wanna use the Turk and Azeris to fight their battle however I do agree with you on the fact that they have a huge anti Armenian propaganda machine funded by the Georgian government working to prepare their public for a confrontation with Armenians just like the Turks and Azeris did before them which is why I ask that we do the same and stay prepared