Presentation of the brief report entitled “Violations of Human Rights in Armenia July 17-30, 2016” prepared by a number of Armenian NGOs about the July events in 2016 and their consequences, was held at Media Center.
The speakers of the report were Daniel Ioannisyan, Coordinator of “Informed Citizens Association” NGO, Haykuhi Harutyunyan, Head of “Defense of rights without borders” NGO, Advocate, Ashot Melikyan, Chairman of theCommittee to Protect Freedom of Expression, and Levon Barseghyan, Chairman ofJournalists’ Club “Asparez”.
The report referred to the July events in 2016 particularly in terms of human rights violations, where the violations circumstances and consequences are presented in details.
Haykuhi Harutyunyan said that this is the first report about the events of the last year and their objective is to show that the cases of human rights violations are not forgotten and consistent work is carried out to punish the accused as the law stipulates.
“In order not to present the results of the work separately, we combined the results of all the organisations into a single report where information on the use of special means and physical violence, freedom of assemblies are presented in relevant departments and units. Also the restrictions on journalists were also included,” Haykuhi Harutyunyan said.
Referring to the restrictions imposed in the territory of the police patrol area with 5 km radius, Robert Revazyan said that their actions were unlawful.
“If there was such a need, the police could lawfully declare a state of emergency and act as it is stipulated in the emergency regime,” the lawyer said adding that the situation was the same in the case of restricting the gatherings.
“The authorized body discusses the issue of giving permission or prohibiting assemblies, in this case the Municipality of Yerevan. And this structure had to decide whether to give permission for that territory or not. In this case, when the police give permission for this or that territory, it is self-will,” Revazyan said.
He said that 23 assemblies and marches were organized on those days. In the case of 4 assemblies, violence and inhuman treatment was inflicted by police officers against the participants.
Levon Barseghyan described the actions of the police as terror acts. According to him, the brutal and illegal actions of the police were the order of Baghramyan 26.
“It is not surprising that the leader of all those actions will be awarded by Serj Sargsyan. I talk about guerrilla Yeranosyan. I really do not hope and expect that the perpetrators of this regime will ever be punished. We are in a serious crisis in this sense,” Levon Barseghyan said, adding. “We must have the delinquents list and publish it in order all the Armenians know that this particular person has committed a crime.”
Speaking about the cases of special measures by the police, Daniel Ioannisyan said that the implementation of these measures was disproportionate and unlawful. He stressed that during the July events there were 100 shots, including 3 cases of tear gas, and the rest were sound grenades.
“After the shooting, police officers picked up sleeves and threw towards the demonstrators. These are like military weapons. Judging from the injuries of the citizens, the impression is that people were on the battlefield. There is a citizen that 75 pieces were removed from his body, the number of citizens who lost an eye is 8. Often proper medical care was not provided. On July 20, an ambulance provided assistance only to the injured police,” Daniel Ioannisyan said.
He added that 16 policemen were poisoned by tear gas those days.
“The tear gas and sound grenades should be thrown some kilometers far from the people which did not happen, that is why the number of the injured was so high. They were thrown not to disperse but to intentionally harm people,” Ioannisyan said.
Ashot Melikyan commented on violence against journalists and restrictions during the July events and described them unprecedented as it was the most massive violence against journalists and added that no police officer has been held responsible for those actions.
“Based on our data, from July 17-30, 27 journalists and cameramen were injured, 19 of whom were subjected to physical violence, and the activity of 8 was hindered without physical violence. Journalists were subjected to violence even in some cases when they did not carry out professional activity and tried to escape to a more secure place. The goal of the police was the flow of minimal information about the events,” Melikyan said.
The latter is convinced that the police actions were planned and targeted.
“They targeted the journalists and cameramen that had serious materials about the events. We have numerous evidence that journalists were gathered in one place and grenades were thrown towards them. There was special retribution against journalists,” Melikyan said.
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