Georgia: Armenian political prisoners Vahagn Chakhalyan released from prison
Diocese of Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Holy Church in Georgia
Press release / 24 January 2013
On January 24, 2012 Armenian political prisoner from Samtskhe-Javakheti Vahagn Chakhalyan has been released from prison.
After the change of power in the country and in accordance with the Law on Amnesty adopted in December 2012 by the Parliament of the Republic of Georgia, renowned Armenian activist, valiant freedom fighter, who since 2001 has devoted himself to public life and did everything to protect the Javakheti Armenian churches, to preserve the right to learn mother tongue at schools, to protect the rights of the Samtskhe-Javakheti Armenians, was soon released from prison.
Accompanied by relatives and friends, who were gathered in the yard of Rustavi Prison Number 1, former political prisoner went to Holy Etchmiadzin Church in Avlabari, where they were met by the Head of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church in Georgia, His Grace Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan together with the clergy, officials of the Diocese, and other members of community. Former political prisoners Armen Gevorgyan and Ruben Shekoyan, which were released from prison 10 days ago, warmly welcomed Vahagn Chakhalyan.
Bishop Mirzakhanyan together with the clergy prayed in the church and blessed Vahagn Chakhalyan. The leader of the Diocese in his speech appreciated the fair and humane actions of the new government. Then the leader of the Diocese blessed and congratulated the young man, who had been falsely accused and lost 4 and a half years of freedom, was taken away from family and friends while in prison.
Many times Chakhalyan was on the verge of death, but remained firm, and fought for the right to live and for ideas that were left unfinished. Bishop Mirzakhanyan appreciated the fact that not only in Samtskhe-Javakheti region, in Georgia and Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, but the whole Armenian Diaspora fought for Vahagn Chakhalyan, considering him a spiritual martyr who suffered for the truth.
The Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Garegin II blessed Vahagn Chakhalyan by telephone. Chakhalyan, in turn, expressed his gratitude to His Holiness for paternal care and attention.
Vahagn Chakhalyan thanked the Catholicos of Armenia, His Holiness Garegin II, the Armenian Diocese of Georgia, His Grace Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan, clergy, priest Ter Husik Harutyunyan and the assistant of the Head of the Diocese Michael Avakian responsible for the ongoing work in prison, and all devoted Armenians who constantly visited him in the prison, encouraged him and inspired hope. He also thanked the new Georgian government, Motherland Armenia and international community, who spared no effort and energy on the issue of his release.
"I am fighting for justice; it is our duty to remain faithful to our Church, our language, and our people, and to transfer these ideas to a new generation," – said Vahagn Chakhanalyan.
After that Vahagn Chakhalyan went to the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Georgia, where he was met by Mr. Hovhannes Manoukian, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to Georgia.
Dr Fernand de Varennes world famous expert on the issue of national minority rights prepared a report on the arrest of Vahagn Chakhalian, which you can find on this page http://www.yerkir.eu/2012.05.22-YerkirEurope-ReportHumanRightsViolationsInGeorgia.pdf
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Press service of the Diocese of Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia
18, Armazi Street, 0103, Tbilisi, Georgia
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