How Can Citizens Protect Their Rights From Police Actions?
28.07.2016
12:00
Human rights activists inform that citizens, suffered from the police violence and illegal detentions during the recent incidents, can start a legal procedures and demand compensations. Artur Sakunts, Chairman of HCA, urges that first and foremost individual citizens should file complaints to RA Special Investigation Service (SIS) about their illegal detention.

When the armed group attacked the police station, about 150 people were detained. From July 17 to 22, the office of the Ombudsman of Armenia received over 114 calls concerning the citizens apprehended by the police and incidents of obstruction of peaceful assemblies.

Arthur Sakunts, the lawyer of “Rule of Law” NGO Ara Ghazaryan and Ethnographer Hranush Kharatyan participated in the discussion on “Yerevan events, the actions of the police during peaceful assemblies” on July 28. Representatives of RA Police and RA Ombudsman’s Office were also invited but they refused to come.

Sakunts informed that “the composition, list and the telephone numbers” had already been published where the citizens can apply and receive legal assistance. “When the citizens are detained from the place of assemblies and demonstrations, they should require that the policeman explains the legal grounds based on whish he/she is detained,” the speaker said.

In the case when people are called for questioning, Ara Ghazaryan urges to go only with a lawyer.

From July 17 till now, when an armed group attacked the Patrol Regiment of the Police, more than 400 citizens were detained. Most of them do not even have documents, they were kept up to 30 hours in custody without determining their status. “Something extraordinary happened, nothing was documented. Without documentation people were kept at the police departments or units,” Sakunts said.  

In the context of the topic under the discussion, the charge against Head of Gyumri Journalists "Asparez" Club Levon Barseghyan was also touched. "The criminal prosecution, arrest against Levon Barseghyan is more unfortunate. This is a fabricated case. A folding pocket knife was found on the basis of which a criminal case is charged. If so, a criminal case should be initiated and pursued against anyone as each of us has a knife to cut bread at home, "said Artur Sakunts.

What happened during the last days of peaceful assemblies, Ara Ghazaryan described as mass arrests. This, according to him, looks like the period of 2002-2004, when mass administrative detentions were applied. "Without discrimination the right intervention is observed, while the European law says that it should be personalized," he added.

Hranush Kharatyan described the cases of arrest as a "kidnapping." "This is the hunt, kidnap of people, when without legal grounds, people are taken to the police stations or units. I think this is state terrorism. Even the family members of the armed group are called to the police stations, frighten and threaten. This is nothing less than state terrorism," Kharatyan said.

Speaking about the reasons for the silence of international organizations regarding the events in Yerevan, Ara Ghazaryan and Artur Sakunts agreed that the reason is that an armed attack has occurred on Patrol. "Maybe the institutions interconnect the happenings with the attack on the Patrol, illegal weapons possession and use. These are factors which initially lacked legitimacy," he said.

Arshaluys Mghdesyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email to [email protected].

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