The poor working conditions of the small court hall hinder the publicity of the trial proceedings. This was mentioned at the Media Center hosted press conference entitled ‘The Trial of Shant Hautyunyan and His Friends.’
The speakers included Mikayel Hayrapetyan, President of the Board of Trustees of ‘Shant and Freedom’ Fund; Artur Sakunts, Head of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office; Inessa Petrosyan, Shant Harutyunyan’s lawyer, Ara Zakaryan, Armen Hovhannisyan’s and Tigran Petrosyan’s lawyer; and Hovhannes Kocharyan, Misak Arakelyan’s lawyer.
On June 12 the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash started hearings involving Shant Harutyunyan and his friends who were detained during the accident near the Opera House on November 5, 2013.
‘Shant and friends’ case is the first one in the Armenian legal practice when the actions against a policeman are qualified as hooliganism. It is something unacceptable even in totalitarian regimes and this trial can become a bad precedent,’ stated Hovhannes Kocharyan, Misak Arakelyan’s lawyer.
Consequently, Kocharyan believes that the differentiation between a policeman and a common citizen vanishes, which can spur a new criminal policy. The provision on public order disturbances that was invalidated in 2005 is likely to be restored and applied as a tool for limiting freedom of assembly.
‘The court must ensure proper facilities for the parties, and the lawyers must have a chance to sit next to their defendant,’ said Ara Zakaryan, Armen Hovhannisyan’s and Tigran Petrosyan’s lawyer, stressing the fact that the victims must also be able to be present at the hall.
Inessa Petrosyan, Shant Harutyunyan’s defender, mentioned that she herself had difficulties with attending the trial because the policemen merely did not allow her to enter the court hall and only after the interference of the court bailiffs she was able to access the hall.
The lawyers also reported that they had submitted their complaints over the trial facilities to the relative authorities. However, the proposal to hold the trial proceedings at a larger hall was rejected since there is not one at the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash.
‘Shant Harutyunyan and others must boycott the hearings until the Court Department ensures appropriate conditions,’ stated Artur Sakunts, Head of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office. The latter considers the authorities’ actions intentional and aimed at punishing Shant Harutyunyan and depriving him of audience.
Mikayel Hayrapetyan, President of the Board of Trustees of ‘Shant and Freedom’ Fund, spoke on the accident involving Hayk Kyureghyan who shot several times at the court yard before the first hearing of Shant and friends’ case, noting ‘Hayk Kyureghyan who eliminated the strategy of the authorities through his action is Armenia’s first civil prisoner.’
On June 25, at 12:30 the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash will continue the trial process of Shant Harutyunyan and his friends’ case.