Vahagn Chkhalyan, a prominent Armenian political activist from Javakhk who is serving his sentence at a top-security prison in Georgia, condemns the new wave of persecution unleashed by the Georgian authorities against Melik Rayisyan and Georgy Mkhchyan, Javakhk -based Armenians accused of fraudulent land deal.
"Their arrest is the latest in a series of moves by Georgia targeting Javakhk Armenians who are working with the Georgian opposition. This is yet another attempt to escalate tension in Javakhk and restrict the rights of local Armenians," Chkhalyan, said in a statement.
"This handwriting of silencing political opponents is typical of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes that aspire to preserve power at any cost.
I demand that5 the Georgian authorities immediately stop persecution and harassment against Javakhk Armenians and create conditions for holding free and fair elections in Georgia," he said.
On June 24, 2012, Georgian authorities arrested Javakhk Armenian activist Georgy Mkhchyan, who has recently aligned himself with Georgia's opposition Dream Party. Mkhchyan is charged with real estate fraud. Investigators from the Georgian Ministry of Finance accuse Mkhchyan of falsifying documents regarding the purchase of the site. If found guilty Mkhchyan faces from 4 to 7 years imprisonment. Also accused in the fraudulent land deal is Melik Rayisyan, a former member of the Georgian parliament. Rayisyan was charged with fraud two days after joining the Georgian Dream Party and expressing his support for Ivanishvili.