Inessa Petrosyan, Shant Harutyunyan’s and his friends’ lawyer, recorded several violations of the European Convention on Human Rights, namely lack of a fair trial, violations of the right to assemble and presumption of innocence.
The trial of Shant Harutyunyan and his friends lasted for almost a year. On November 5, 2013 near Mashtots Avenue a clash between the police and a group of protesters resulted in the arrest of the leader of the Tseghakron Party, Shant Harutyunyan and 13 other citizens. Harutyunyan and others were accused of applying dangerous and non-dangerous violence against representatives of authorities. Shant Harutyunyan was sentenced to six years imprisonment on the charge of “hooliganism committed with a weapon or another item used as a weapon.”
The application submitted to ECHR nails three major violations. “The first violation is the right to a fair trial. The court’s ruling on a case which comprised 134 volumes and involved 14 defendants was a hasty one and was presented only in two hours. Some defendants were deprived of the right to have their last word, with some others not having a public defender,” Petrosyan said.
The right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty was violated, too, Petrosyan believes.
“During his visit in the USA President Sargsyan said “Shant Harutyunyan has committed a crime.” And the statement was made before the Court of First Instance published the decision. I put forward this argument several times during the hearings but it was neglected,” said the lawyer.
And the other point is the violation of the freedom of assembly because back in 2013 during the protest of Harutyunyan and his friends there were provocations which led to clashes.
Artur Sakunts from HCA Vanadzor Office referred to SHant Harutyunyan and his friends as political prisoners. “They are persecuted because for political reasons since they spoke against Armenia’s joining the Eurasian Economic Union.”
Speaking on the constitutional changes in this context Sakunts said it is nonsense to expect the rule of law will be observed after the constitutional changes if there are still political reprsessions in the country.
Sakunts and Petrosyan expect their appeal will be upheld which will lead to a review of the case in the local courts.
“ECHR is not a fourth instance to overturn decisions of Armenia’s courts. But if our appeal is upheld and violations are recognized, the case may be reviewed. As for now, it is still unclear when ECHR will make a ruling,” said Inessa Petrosyan.
Arshaluys Mghdesyan, Editor-Coordinator