Human Rights Protection at Detention Facilities: 2014 in Review
There is little positive shift in the detention facilities of the RA Police. The monitoring group has not observed drastic improvement within last five years.

The Group of Public Observers Conducting Public Monitoring at the Detention Facilities of the RA Police has documented cases of physical injuries and torture, as well as violation of investigation procedures.

“We have the same issues. A man is detained with physical injuries, taken for interrogation, then returned with more injuries but the case is turned back to that very officer who might have caused the injuries. It is outrageous as an independent authority should conduct the investigation in this case. The law needs amendments,” said Suren Iskandaryan, member of the Group of Public Observers Conducting Public Monitoring at the Detention Facilities of the RA Police at the Media Center hosted discussion.

Artur Harutyunyan, member of the group, noted that in the early 2014 there were obstacles to their activities. The members of the monitoring group still do not have an access to the personal data of detainees.

“Another problem is that physical injuries are not properly documented in the registration books,” said Harutyunyan.

Ani Gevorgyan, journalist of the Chorrord Ishkhanutyun newspaper, who recalled the 2014 February incident with the Police, said any citizen who is taken to a police station clashes with the reality that they are deprived of any right.  

“As a journalist, I know my rights and obligations but I suffer from illegal actions of police officers. As for common people, those cases remain unsolved because many citizens do not even realize what rights they are deprived of. Only when a citizen manages to cope with the inner pressure and speak out, such accidents are voiced about whereas there are thousand cases people do not even dare to speak about,” said Ani Gevorgyan.

Ani Gevorgyan was detained presumably while she was performing her professional duties, covering an opposition protest. Gevorgyan's case was transferred from the Kentron Police Station to Armenia's Special Investigation Service. At the Kentron Police Station the station head hit Ani Gevorgyan, took her mobile phone whilst another three police officers seized her camera and took out the memory card.

In this regard, Vahram Abrahamyan, Head of the Emergency Department of the RA Police, said all violations committed by police officers are reported to the pretrial department and it is the Special Investigation Service that is to make a final decision.

In 2014 the detention facilities were reconstructed, Abrahamyan noted.

“Due to the joint efforts of the Police and monitoring group the Masis Detention Facility was closed because it did not comply with the standards. We also held capacity building courses for facility staffs,” said Abrahamyan.

“As for cases of physical injuries, we have a number of pretrial departments and reports are filed to the department which is conducting that pretrial. There is no intention to hinder or conceal something. I personally do not think it necessary to establish a new specialized department. We strictly demand all reports to be registered,” said Abrahamyan.

With respect to the access to personal data, Abrahamyan noted the Police are acting according to the terms of the law.

“If the Police obey the law and it is considered an obstacle, I am simply astonished. A detainee’s personal data may be available for the monitoring group only by the order of the Police Head and upon a detainee’s agreement,” said Abrahamyan.

Hasmik Sahakyan, Head of the Public Monitoring Group on Detention facilities of the RA Police, described the previous year as crucial in their activities, and, nevertheless, there were positive shifts among which the speaker pointed out the increased meal allowance of detainees.

The speakers included: Hasmik Sahakyan, Head of the Public Monitoring Group on Detention facilities of the RA Police; Suren Iskandaryan, Member of the Public Monitoring Group; Artur Harutyunyan, Member of the Public Monitoring Group, Vahram Abrahamyan, Head of the Emergency Department of the RA Police; and Ani Gevorgyan, Journalist at the Chorrord Ishkhanutyun Newspaper, photojournalist.

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