Sunday, March 04, 2007

NGO head accuses Armenian local officials of pillaging the villages

27 Feb 07

Yerevan, 27 December:
Robert Simonyan, head of the Kashatagh non-governmental organization for the protection of resettlers, accuses the administration of the Kashatagh (Lacin) district of embezzlement.

Speaking to journalists today [27 February], Robert Simonyan, who in 1990s was the head of the administration of five villages in the Kashatagh district, accused both the former and the current heads of the district administration, Aleksan Hakobyan and Hamlet Khachatryan, of pillaging the villages and embezzling funds they had been given to reconstruct the district.

The disagreement with the district administration over its policies resulted in Simonyan's persecution. A Yerevan resident, who had moved to Kashatagh, was forced to go back again, but he claims that his persecution did not stop there either.

Simonyan claims that he had repeatedly informed all possible instances in Armenia - from the president to foreign diplomatic corps - of the embezzlement by the district administration and the persecution of himself and family members, but has not received a reasonable answer. Today, Simonyan made a statement describing the talk about a possible return of the liberated territories (security zone around the Nagornyy Karabakh republic - Arminfo) as a crime and treason.

"On the one hand, they speak of keeping the Lacin corridor under the Armenian control, but on the other hand, the local authorities and the Armenian leadership create such inhuman conditions that the resettlers run from those strategically important territories," Simonyan said. He said that while 15,000 people lived in Kashatagh in 1988, only 2,500 people now remained there. He also said that the residents of the border regions of Armenia - Ijevan, Tavush, Goris and Kapan - should be entitled to a compensation for the damage caused by Azerbaijan.

"In addition, we demand that the Armenian and the NKR [Nagornyy Karabakh republic] authorities did their best for both the protection of the NKR borders with Iran and opening of bilateral communication through it," the statement said.

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