Thursday, July 24, 2008

alerts from Javakhk!


Dear compatriots,

The democratic alliance "United Javakhk", a grassroot NGO advocating for human rights of Javakhk Armenians, was attacked and crashed without any solid legal grounds by the Georgian special police units in the city of Akhalkalak.


Here is the brief chronology of events:

July 17

July 17 - 18

July 18 - 19

July 20

July 20 – 21

An explosion near the house of Akhlkalak chief of police Samvel Petrosyan. This is allegedly a provocation set up by the Georgian special police units, looking for an excuse to start harassing local Armenian public initiative organizations.

Attack on the house of Gurgen Shirinyan member of "United Javakhk" alliance, head of local Armenian Scouts Movement) by the Georgian special police units with the support of local police. Shirinyan's relatives were severely beaten. A local policeman of Armenian origin, Arthur Berujanyan, was killed under suspicious circumstances during the attack. Weapons found at Shirinyan's dwelling were allegedly planted by the Georgian special police unit to make up the case against him. Shirinyan went on a hide-out to the local mountains.

Random arrests of "United Javakhk's" members in the city of Akhalkalak. Warrantless/unsanctioned searches in their houses, etc.

Killing of yet another Akhalkalaki police officer of Armenian decent, Armen Gabrielyan, under unspecified circumstances. He was last seen entering an abandoned house in the outskirts of Akhalkalak accompanied by the Georgian special police unit. It is alleged the this Armenian police officer was eliminated as a witness of the killing of the first Armenian police officer by the Georgian special police unit during the attack on Gurgen Shininyan's house.

Arrest of the "United Javakhk" leader – Vahagn Chakhlyan and his family members (brother Armen Chakhalyan, father Rouben Chakhalyan). His family members were verbally attacked, humiliated and then were severely beaten. His house was searched without any formal legal ground (no sanction from relevant authorities) and without maintenance of the due procedure.

At the current moment:

  • Over 500 Georgian special police officers are stationed in Javakhk region of Georgia (this is in addition to the regular police force);
  • Over 20 members of "United Javakhk were thrown to jail without due course/legal procedures;
  • The Georgian operatives, too, control over local internet provider and independent radio station. A number of other local media outlets are shut down, which effectively limits freedom of the media and access of the general public to information; the local population is effectively under information blockade;
  • The office of "United Javakhk" had been illegally searched and weapons were "found" (allegedly all planted by the Georgian police units);
  • The population of Akhlkalak and the entire region is under the constant threat of a illegal arrests, beatings and other mass violations of human rights;
  • Armenian and Georgian media and state authorities do not comment the situation.
Call your local Armenian grassroot organizations and ask them to act - issue statements, write letters to international human rights organizations, spread the word about the injustice in Javakhk etc.

Protest mass arrests, beatings and killings in the region.

Demand Georgian authorities to free the arrested "Unified Javakhk" members, who in fact are harassed and arrested for their political views and must be seen as political prisoners.

Demand adequate transparent investigation of the matter by combined Armenian-Georgian task force and/or by independent and trusted international experts.



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