‘According to all international regulations, torture is the pain inflicted on a person by a public authority, but it is not included in our legislation,’ stated Avetik Ishkhanyan, Chairman at Helsinki committee of Armenia, at the Media Center hosted panel discussion entitled ‘International Day in Support of Torture Victims: Situation in Armenia’.
The panelists included Avetik Ishkhanyan, Chairman at Helsinki committee of Armenia; Artak Zeynalyan, Rights Defender, ‘Rule of Law’ NGO Cofounder; Artur Sakunts, Head of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office; Hovhannes Madoyan, ‘Real World, Real People’ NGO Head; and David Isanyants, active citizen.
‘On arresting a person the police are to give citizens the opportunity to call a third party and ensure the detainee’s right to have a lawyer, as well a doctor's presence is obligatory,’ mentioned Avetik Ishkhanyan. According to him, in Armenia many who are inflicted torture on rarely agree to have the case investigated by the police.
‘In December-November, 2013 out of 135 detainees only 2-3 had a lawyer whereas most cases of torture by the police occur in the initial period of detention,’ noted the panelist.
Panelist Dvin Isanyans recalled how he was beaten by police during therally against the renaming of Mashtots Park on May 13.
‘According to the European Convention, perpetrators shall not be granted parole or pardon. That is the main reason why torture is not criminalized in Armenia,’ stated Artur Sakunts.
With respect to torture acts in health and social sectors, Hovhannes Madoyan said that in Armenia nearly 3,000 people need analgesic medicine each day, yet the morphine imported per year can be sufficient for 250 people a day.
There exist problems regarding medical assistance to drug addict detainees. The speaker noted that people suffering from HIV are also subjected to discrimination by receiving lower quality medical assistance.
The UN General Assembly proclaimed June 26 the International Day in Support of Torture Victims. The Republic of Armenia joined the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on June 9, 1993. However, the definition of torture which is applied presently in Armenia does not comply with the provisions of the convention.