Jirair Sefilian, Garegin Chukaszyan, Pavel Manukyan, Gevorg Safaryan and Varuzhan Avetisyan were detained under Article 35-225 of the Criminal Code of Armenia for plotting mass unrest. All were arrested on April 7- on suspicion of plotting mass riots on April 24 when the Armenian Genocide Centennial is to be commemorated.
The lawyers found out that the case was opened on February 18, with the investigative group of 29 members being formed on February 24.
The persecution of the Founding Parliament members - Tigran Yegoryan, lawyer of the detained FP members, believes – continues at the court where the judges “were trying to imitate an impartial proceeding.” The court decisions were written in advance, the lawyer believes. “The 8-10 pages of the detention order were written in 20-25 minutes which is physically impossible.”
Lawyer Lusine Hakobyan recalled that Sefilian has been a target of the authorities for already 10 years. In 2006, he was accused of calling for a violent overthrow of the constitutional order and for illegal possession of weapons. Today, the lawyer reminds, there is a European Court decision, by which Armenia was forced to pay 6,000 Euros to Sefilian in compensation for the wrong decision.
“I think the authorities will drop these charges as well. If they don’t, we will have another decision against the Republic of Armenia, and both the State and we, the taxpayers, will bear the negative impact,” she said.
Ara Zakaryan, another lawyer of the FP members, stressed that the items confiscated from the houses of the detainees are not enough grounds for their detention and arrest. “The law enforcement officers have confiscated wooden and metal rods, knives, tasers and other similar items. Anyone could keep such items at home,” he said.
The lawyer spoke on the permission to hold a rally on April the Yerevan City Council previously gave to the Founding Parliament though the case was opened in mid February: “If the authorities had had information about “mass disturbances” being prepared, why should they have approved that rally? Is it logical?”
The lawyers also commented on the statement by Karen Andreasyan, Human Rights Defender, criticizing him for not presenting a legal assessment. “Karen Andreasyan’s assessment is not only insufficient, but it also contains false information,” Lusine Hakobyan said.
Though it seems difficult to fight in a politically motivated case with legal mechanisms, the lawyers stressed that they would use up all national procedures in order to lodge the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Arshaluys Mghdesyan, Editor-Coordinator
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