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August 11
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The Investigative Committee of the Republic of Armenia (RA) issued a press release Wednesday informing about the completion of the preliminary investigation of the case of Avetik Chalabyan, a public and political figure who is in custody. The release reads that some sufficient evidence was obtained to justify Chalabyan's guilt. In this regard, Avetik Chalabyan's defense team released a statement Thursday, which reads as follows:

It should be noted that after the preliminary investigation, the defense team got a chance to examine the case materials and submitted a number of petitions. After carefully studding the materials of the case, as expected, it became clear that not only there is no evidence justifying the guilt of Avetik Chalabyan, but on the contrary, there is much factual data proving the innocence of Avetik Chalabyan, which will be made public as a result of the public trial and will provide complete answers to all remaining unanswered questions.

At the same time, we would like to inform you that after the indictment is approved by the prosecutor in charge of the trial and sent to the court, we will hold a press conference, in which we will present in detail all the particulars of the case and the bankruptcy of the "sufficient" evidence obtained by the preliminary investigation," reads the statement.

It should be noted that political prisoner Avetik Chalabyan, a member of the board of trustees of the "Arar" foundation, is accused of the act provided for in Article 163, Part 3, Clause 2 of the RA Criminal Code, without any grounds, without any credible evidence and the investigation took place with gross violations of criminal procedures.

"I was arrested in a fictitious criminal case, in which there is no real crime and whose only real purpose is to put undisguised political pressure on me and my friends. Everyone who knows me knows very well that I have not committed any illegal act or even any action that could be against our value system. Any political pressure, any criminal case based on obvious machinations cannot divert me from the struggle for our country and statehood," Avetik Chalabyan said in his statement from the prison. Even being in prison, he did not stop his patriotic activities, including publishing the series of articles on the strategic development of Armenia, "Armenia's Fatal Choice", which is available read in Armenian.

Public groups and activists have been fighting for the freedom of Avetik Chalabyan for months for now, calling for the release of Avetik Chalabyan through mass protests, petitions and all means prescribed by law. Five members of the RA National Assembly, "Arar Foundation" and former RA Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Vache Gabrielyan submitted letters of recommendation for the change of his restraining order. A number of public figures, scientists, chairperson and the members of the Parliament of Artsakh, the president, the spiritual leader of the Diocese of Artsakh, and other persons have called for the release of Avetik Chalabyan. According to the reports, Avetik Chalabyan's detention is in the center of attention of international human rights organizations and the press, in the context of the decline of democracy in Armenia as a case of silencing the opposition leaders through the use of fraud and deprivation of liberty.

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