Law 11:10 21/05/2022 Armenia

Petition launched to question human rights defenders that have left Armenian citizens 'defenseless'

A petition has been launched to question a number of human rights defenders that have left Armenian citizens "defenseless".

"In 2018, after the revolution that occurred in Armenia in the name of democracy, it turned out that a number of organizations operating under the guise of human rights serve the interests of a single political team. It was publicly revealed that they have a discriminatory attitude toward RA citizens and are ready to violate their rights by assuming the role of the government’s defender instead of a human rights defender. This favoritism demolishes the very basis of democracy. Very often, acting in the name of human rights, people contradict the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and European Convention on Human Rights," the authors state.

"The basis of this claim is that they did not respond to, bypassed, ignored, often justified all these blatantly undemocratic steps and human rights violations of the government:

• The Prime Minister did not relinquish his powers (the Super Prime Ministership), even though it was the promise with which he came to power. Keeping the law enforcement bodies under unlimited control, the Prime Minister used them to satisfy his whims.

• The government illegally arrested people they didn’t like via a public order of the Prime Minister.

• news website editor Mher Yeghiazaryan died after a hunger strike. He went on a strike because he wouldn’t accept the criminal charges against him.

• The government divides the citizenry into blacks and whites, the present and the former. They discriminate against RA citizens for their political views and propagate hatred against them, even using Adolf Hitler's vocabulary, calling the political forces "bacteria."

• The crowd’s blockade of the National Assembly by the order of the country’s Prime Minister.

• The crowd’s blockade of the courts at the call of the country’s Prime Minister, his propagation of public hatred towards the judges who don’t obey his instructions, use of expressions such as "barking judges," "coronavirus courts," "those looking for a master under the walls."

• The fake criminal case initiated against the then chairman of the Constitutional Court Hrayr Tovmasyan. In the framework of that case, cases were also initiated against Tovmasyan's father and daughter, and the NSS searched their house. The Prime Minister thus violated Tovmasyan’s presumption of innocence by publishing the message of the preliminary investigation bodies on his Facebook page, claiming that Tovmasyan was guilty.

• The criminal case initiated against Judge Davit Grigoryan for the fact that he also made a decision the executive power didn’t like.

• The hate campaign against Judge Alexander Arzumanyan, for making a decision the executive power didn’t like. Unable to find a reason to file a lawsuit against the judge, they interfered in his scientific work, publicly accusing him of plagiarism.

• Then Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan publicly refused to obey the court’s decision and apologize for slander.

• The slanders of the former spokesperson of the Prime Minister Mane Gevorgyan and the former chairman of the Public Council Styopa Safaryan, which were proved in court.

• Removal of three judges of the Constitutional Court by a vote of the National Assembly and the removal of the President of the Constitutional Court from presidency.

• The revelation that the criminal case against businessman, former MP Ruben Hayrapetyan is being edited by the Prime Minister's advisor Anna Vardapetyan (Hayrapetyan was later acquitted).

• The wiretaps of the heads of the NSS and SIS, which revealed that they were collaborating on creating fake criminal cases with the Prime Minister.

• The NSS intrusion into the news office and confiscation of computers and flash drives.

• Initiation of a fake criminal case against the owner of Channel 5 TV Armen Tavadyan.

• Depriving journalist Suzy Badoyan of her accreditation in the National Assembly, ruling party MP Hayk Sargsyan taking her microphone away.

• Vahagn Aleksanyan, a ruling party member of the National Assembly, publicly called journalists "verbal prostitutes." (Several foreign-funded journalists' organizations, in any case, issued a statement condemning this, but with this ridiculous phrasing: “"Having a very critical attitude towards the current state of Armenian television, we testify that in the last three years, the government has not realized its intention to "clean it up.”)

• The refusal of ruling party deputies Ruben Rubinyan and Andranik Kocharyan to answer journalists' questions, emphasizing that they don’t take questions from those particular media platforms.

• The demand of the Speaker of the National Assembly Alen Simonyan that the journalists should stand up when he walks by.

• The beating of Lieutenant Colonel Ara Mkhitaryan by the assistant of Vayots Dzor, due to which Mkhitaryan is still in a coma.

• Adoption of laws restricting freedom of speech, criminalization of “grave insults” of officials, specific cases of accusations and verdicts under that article.

• Fake criminal cases against Syunik community leaders. (Goris candidate Arush Arushyan nevertheless won the mayoral election while in prison).

• Corruption. High bonuses for the deputies of the National Assembly and members of the government. Suspiciously consistent state procurement cases from a single person/company.

• Mob law. The group calling themselves "Guardians of the Revolution" took revenge on the people who criticized the executive power.

• Nepotism. The Prime Minister's brother is a deputy of the ruling party, his wife's brother is a deputy of the ruling party. The daughter of the Ambassador to Ukraine is the President’s advisor.

• The failure of negotiations with Azerbaijan, which led to the 44-day war in 2020.

The atrocities of Azerbaijan: the torture and murder of captives, rape and murder of women, the destruction of the Armenian cultural heritage, the anti-Armenian statements by Ilham Aliyev, including the idea that Armenians should not increase population. Imposing unconditional peace on the Armenian people with Azerbaijan under these conditions.

• The Prime Minister waving a hammer and threatening his political opponents during the election campaign.

• The Prime Minister's motorcade ran over pregnant Sona Mnatsakanyan, killing her as a result and didn’t stop or call an ambulance.

• The police accusing the man who died during the Resistance movement rallies of using drugs.

• Illegally detaining the participants of the Resistance movement rallies. Moreover, arresting them, including single mother Emma Sargsyan.

• None of the above-mentioned criminal cases were proved.

With all this in mind, we, the citizens of Armenia, concerned with the protection of the rights of our fellow citizens, strongly recommend a critical attitude toward these groups and individuals," the petition says.

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