Tigran Hayrapetyan, lawyer; Karen Mezhlumyan, Coordinator at the Committee for Protection of Lawyers’ Rights at the Chamber of Advocates of RA; and Kristina Gevorgyan, Head of the Foundation against Violation of Law, spoke on the case at the Media Center.
Human rights defenders and lawyers describe the criminal case against Tigran Hayrapetyan as an attempt to silence an active lawyer and frighten others.
On May 27, 2015 the case was opened against Tigran Hayrapetyan on the alleged basis that the lawyer had not followed the correct procedure while representing his client, Zhuleta Amarikyan. Zhuleta Amarikyan – according to her lawyer Tigran Hayrapetyan – was taken to Avan Psychiatric Center upon her relatives’ request. The court decided on an application for compulsory treatment order. During the twenty-eight days Amarikyan spent in the psychiatric center she suffered from torture and inhuman treatment, the lawyer said.
The investigation of Amarikyan’s case is underway and the lawyer solicited advice from international medical experts. The investigator, though, dismissed the lawyer’s petition.
“I allegedly hindered the medical examination with my petitions and, I am also accused of asking the experts provocative questions,” Hayrapetyan said.
Hayrapetyan told the journalists that he had a face to face meeting with the investigator who confirmed that the case was dismissed and the Special Investigative Committee will issue a statement on August 25.
It was an attempt to exert pressure not only on lawyer Tigran Hayrapetyan but on the entire community of lawyers, Karen Mezhlumyan believes.
“NGOs which stayed current with the case have issued a joint statement. A lawyer defends the rights of a suffered person, files petitions and comes to the examination with questions which an investigator may later describe as provocative. Ara Zohrabyan, Head of the Chamber of Advocates, commented truly well that lawyers are supposed to ask provocative questions. It is our work. If we come across experts’ indifference, we have to ask questions. Actually, it is an attempt to silence an active lawyer and frighten others,” said Mezhlumyan.
For the civil society in the country this case was a criminal prosecution, Mezhlumyan believes.
The investigator, Kristina Gevorgyan said, was prosecuting Tigran Hayrapetyan to have Zhuleta Amarikyan’s case either dismissed or altered.
“We have kept abreast of Amarikyan’s case since Tigran Hayrapetyan has applied to us to involve international experts. At his request we contacted our Georgian colleagues but the investigator dismissed our petition because the Judicial Code of Armenia does not provide that an international expert can be involved in the examination committee,” Gevorgyan said.
Yet, the law does not specify cases when an international expert cannot be involved at a lawyer’s petition.
“Anyway, it was an obstacle. We had to solicit postponement of the examination as our experts needed all papers on the medical case history, previous examination conclusions to eventually conduct a proper examination,” Gevorgyan said.
Lilit Arakelyan, Editor-Coordinator
Please contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.