Avetik Chalabyan to remain in prison

"How do you imagine escape from investigation for a man who repatriated to Armenia during the war with three sons?" Avetik Chalabyan during the court hearings

Avetik Chalabyan, activist, politician and a member of the “Unification” movement, will remain under arrest. On Sunday, July 10, the Yerevan Court of Common Jurisdiction, headed by Judge Arusyak Aleksanyan, published its decision, which satisfied the appeal for extension of detention submitted by the investigative body implementing the proceedings.

“How can I hinder the proceedings if you have completed the proceedings? What can I possibly do? If you have completed the proceedings, then you have effectively taken the actions proposed by the prosecutor, and there is no logical action that I can hinder. I have no desire to do so either. The materials of this case are sufficient enough to eventually lead to my acquittal in any reasonable court. These steps will one by one lead to the conclusion that the criminal offense is absent,” Chalabyan said in his closing speech at the open court hearing of the extension of detention dates.

Earlier, a hasty motion was submitted to the court to extend Chalabyan’s detention after the prosecutor in charge of the trial did not confirm the indictment of the case and returned the materials of the proceedings to the preliminary investigative body with an instruction to continue its investigation.

“How do you imagine escape from investigation for a man, who is a member of the board of directors of five companies, a member of the board of trustees of two charitable foundations, a father of a large family, the primary caregiver of four children and two elderly parents. Did you write all this just for the sake of writing? How can I escape? Can I escape from myself? A man who returned to Armenia during the war with his entire family, with three boys. A significant part of the population of our country takes its children out of the country to escape serving in the Army. Did I return to Armenia with three boys to escape from Armenia?” said Chalabyan, adding that this trial would seem ridiculous under the legal practice of any country.

Chalabyan is accused of the act provided for in Article 163, Part 3, Clause 2 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia without any credible evidence and with gross violations of criminal procedures. The article has been reclassified and softened by the new Criminal Code that came into force on July 1.

“Avetik Chalabyan is a political hostage of the current authorities, and the courts are their executioners. Yesterday, the investigator confirmed that Avetik Chalabyan should remain in custody only so that he and the prosecutor could send the case to the court in a relaxed manner. He admitted that they have no other investigative actions to perform. So to say, Avetik Chalabyan will remain in custody on the basis of sending the case to court, Varazdat Harutyunyan and Arthur Harutyunyan, Chalabyan’s defense team, stated earlier.

Public groups and activists have been fighting for Chalabyan’s freedom for months now, calling for his release through mass protests, petitions and all means prescribed by law.

Editor’s Note: This update was drafted by the legal team of Avetik Chalabyan.

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