Zara Hovhannisyan, Program Coordinator at the Coalition to Stop Violence against Women, Human Rights Defender, Nona Galstyan, Advocate of Naira Smbatyan, Stepan Voskanyan, Advocate of Naira Smbatyan, were the speakers of the press conference.
Naira Smbatyan has regularly been subjected to physical and psychological violence by her husband, Ara Khachatryan.
They have 4 children the youngest of whom, a 3-year-old son, lives with Naira now in one of the secret settlements of “Women's Support Center” NGO.
Stepan Voskanyan says that the court does not see any criminality to initiate a criminal case. He finds a groundless decision that the prosecution on the beating has been stopped and the criminal case has been suspended on the grounds that the guilty person is unknown.
“Naira Smbatyan has regularly been subjected to psychological and physical pressure by her husband, Ara Khachatryan. Their daughters were under the influence of father and his parents. They often mocked their mother to please the father,” Voskanyan said.
The other three children of Naira Smbatyan are under the patronage of their father, the eldest one is 15 years old.
Lawyers say that the children who live with their father are involved in unlawful actions and miss the school lessons.
Stepan Voskanyan noted that on January 4, 2017, Naira Smbatyan was beaten by her husband and then she escaped.
“The husband beat her with legs and when Naira wanted to take his son and escape, the daughters were opposed. Naira wordily escaped from home without taking first-aid items,” Voskanyan said.
The attorney mentioned that he had appealed to the prosecutor general and was again denied. He underlined that they challenged the issue of legality of judicial decisions.
“At this point, we have managed to reach only the result that Naira Smbatyan and Ara Khachatryan give testimony. The session will be held in August,” Voskanyan added.
Nona Galstyan informed that they filed a lawsuit against the place of residence of the children.
“Unfortunately, there is no other body in Armenia that will be able to protect the safety of juveniles in such situations before the court decision is reached. Naira has appealed to the custody bodies, the Human Rights Defender, Yerevan Municipality, the police, and warned that children are under the psychological pressure of their father, leaving behind education. But the problem has not been solved. On the one hand, the police explain that they are not in charge of organizing visits with children but on the other hand, when Ara Khachatryan applies, for some reason they organize it,” Galstyan said.
The next hearing on child custody is scheduled for June 22, during which a petition will be examined to conduct psychiatric examinations among children that experts will be able to explore and provide information on how their parents' disputes affect their psychological state and the behavior of each of them.
Zara Hovhannisyan mentioned that Ara Khachatryan is a member of “Free Democrats” Party.
“And it is very controversial that a member of the party that carries the European values exposes his wife to violence in his family in the eyes of their children,” Hovhannisyan said.
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