Assessment and Subsequent Actions of Human Rights Defenders Regarding the Cases of “Sasna Dzrer” members and the Arrested People after Sari Tagh Events
A discussion was held today at Media Center about the criminal cases of “Sasna Dzrer” Group members, arrested people and politicians after the Sari Tagh events.

Arthur Sakunts, Head of Helsinki Citizens' Assembly, Haykuhi Harutyunyan, Head of Protection of Rights without Border NGO, Ara Karagyozyan, Lawyer at "Against Violation of Law" NGO, Inessa Petrosyan, Advocate of “Sasna Dzrer” Group members participated in the discussion.

On August 19, the Court of Appeal considered the attorneys’ applications of 9 members of Sasna Dzrer group to change the precautionary measure on payment of bail or to eliminate the arrest. The sessions of 3 were postponed, 5 applications were rejected.

Attorney Inessa Petrosyan, who represents the protection of 4 members of Sasna Dzrer group - Pavlik Manukyan, Aram Manukyan, Mkhitar Avetisyan and Armen Lambaryani, says that she appealed to change the arrest as a preventive measure for her 4 defendants.
The Court of Appeal's decision for Pavlik Manukyan was published on Friday and the appeal was rejected.

“The appeal of Mkhitar Avetisyan was also rejected. The refusal is based on the reasoning that they are accused of heavy crimes, and staying in freedom, they can prevent, avoid proceedings and they bring the fact that there is a reasonable suspicion that these people entered the patrol service area. In any case, I will appeal to the Appeal Court," Petrosyan says.

Pavlik Manukyan was operated on Fiday and he still needs to undergo several surgeries.

"Pavlik Manukyan would have problems with mobility within a year. I also visited 3 defendants who are in the prison hospital and I faced a problem which made very upset and touched me. I assess this as a gross violation of their rights. Erebuni medical center fulfilled 24 -hour continuous duty and in fact that duty has been removed today by the Erebuni medical center. There we have a serious problem, "said Petrosyan, adding that she will prepare complaints and appeals.

“Pavel Manukyan underwent surgery on Friday, and on Monday it was decided that the male nurses who were carrying out their duty for 24 hours, would stop taking care of the patients, I think this is a political decision,” Petrosyan said.

Ara Karagyozyan, who is Davit Sanasaryan’s attorney, considers the release of Sanasaryan to be a political decision.

“No judge is capable of independent judgment and making independent decision. It's a political decision, it was applied for bail, but the case has not been closed yet. The videos show how Sanasaryan and "Heritage" party members called for peace, to prevent violence against the police," Karagyozyan said.

He adds that the next step would be to suspend the prosecution.

Arthur Sakunts says that from July 17 to July 31 illegalities tok place in several directions.

“One is against peaceful assembly participants, who are in custody and a criminal case was initiated on the basis of riots, the second group is the politicians accused of organizing mass riots, three people still remain in custody - David Hovhannisyan, Hovsep Khurshudyan and Andrias Ghukasyan. The third group is charged with supporting Sasna Dzrer group, and the fourth group is the Sasna Dzrer Group," Sakunts said.

Sakunts says that law enforcement agencies carry out selective justice.

“But the main general trend is the illegal persecution, including degrading treatment, almost torture treatment, failure to provide proper medical service in a timely basis. There is an obvious political persecution not only against Sasna Dzrer members, but for all of them and in all cases the preventive measure should be urgently changed and they should be released. Criminal prosecution should be suspended. The Special Investigation Service (SIS) should be much more effective in the cases of the police committing illegal actions in terms of criminal prosecution,” Sakunts said.

The lawyer notes that there are no such efforts by the SIS.

"We see a trend of concealing criminal offenses and shielding the illegal actions of senior police officers, up to convincing citizens not to submit applications. If during 14 days, about 770 people were detained, then at least half of that number, about 300 police officers should be prosecuted, including Head of the police and his deputies, whose illegal actions are visible in all the videos," Sakunts added.

Haykuhi Harutyunyan emphasized that the conduct of the courts and the judges' behavior should be definitely scrutinized.

“Since July 17, when illegal detention started, we have separated the citizens that have been illegally arrested and kept in custody for more than 3 hours. The next group was subjected to physical violence or psychological pressure during the same period of the implementation of actions by the police. The culmination of the events was on July 20 when as a result of excessive use of force by the police many citizens were injured. The same thing happened on July 29, even more widespread and more dangerous. After July 20, people were detained to the police stations by the same scenario on different days and kept there for more than 3 hours. They were subjected to violence, connection or communication with family members was banned, lawyers with an appointment or other types of legal assistance to persons were deprived, and were subjected to restrictions to carry out their natural needs," she said.

He also raised important issues regarding the SIS activities.

"SIS has limited resources, the SIS investigators are not able to investigate all those cases in terms of lack of human resources. The cases are 770 and all the detained persons should be examined as potential victims by the SIS. To solve this issue, SIS formed investigation group and investigating committee, investigators are assigned to those works, but the conditions and the organization manner are already quite worrying. At the same time several investigators are working in the same room and the questioning process is being conducted there. In addition, the separate investigation group is engaged in investigating the criminal case sent directly from the National Security Service (NSS), the case of 30 members of Sasna Tsrer group," Harutyunyan said.

Harutyunyan added that examinations and all the components that are necessary for the effective investigation to have the overall picture, were realized quite late.

"There are citizens in respect of which a decision regarding the medical examination has not been made yet, but they had received serious injuries and did not get equivalent treatment up to now," Harutyunyan said.

Lilit Arakelyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

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

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