Politics 14:36 08/04/2024 Armenia

Letter to CoE chief raises awareness of persecution against political opponents in Armenia

The editorial staff of AntiFake.am and the board members of the Civic Consciousness NGO wrote a letter to Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić. The letter was handed over to the CoE chief and was read to the public today during the protest held outside the Armenian Foreign Ministry building on the occasion of Ms. Burić’s visit. Below is the full letter published by AntiFake.

"Dear Ms. Burić,

We would like to welcome you to Armenia and thank you for taking the time to read this letter. We feel that we should make you aware of the fact that your visit to the Republic of Armenia is taking place in an environment of persecution and imprisonment of political opponents and independent journalists who practice their right of free speech, and flagrant disregard for the law by the Armenian authorities. State penitentiaries are filled with political prisoners, independent journalists are subject to political persecution. Public and political figures are illegally detained and imprisoned. These political prisoners are as follows:

1. Mamikon Aslanyan (has been imprisoned for 2 years and 3 months) won local elections in the third largest city of Armenia, Vanadzor, and was imprisoned for simply winning the elections.

2. Armen Ashotyan (has been imprisoned for 10 months) is a member of the Executive Body of the Republican Party of Armenia, the Vice-Chairman of the Party, was imprisoned for a fabricated criminal case.

3. Narek Malian (has been imprisoned for 7 months) is a fiction writer, a public figure, was imprisoned for a Facebook post.

4. Narek Samsonyan (has been imprisoned for 17 days) is the founder of AntiFake.am media outlet, Chairman of “Civil Consciousness” NGO, the co-author and co-host of “Imnemnimi” Podcast, was detained about two weeks ago and imprisoned for 2 months for harshly criticizing the Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan and calling him “son of a bitch” during the podcast while discussing his decision to transfer some of Armenian territories to Azerbaijan.

5. Vazgen Saghatelyan (has been imprisoned for 17 days) is a public figure, co-author, and co-host of “Imnemnimi” podcast, was detained about two weeks ago and imprisoned for 2 months for harshly criticizing Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan during the same Podcast.

All the above-mentioned people are well-known critics of the Pashinyan regime. Considering the fact that you are in Armenia now, we call on you to urge the authorities of the Republic of Armenia to urgently release all political prisoners within the framework of its obligations undertaken before the Council of Europe.

As the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, you are surely informed that to this day there are Armenian prisoners of war, captives, and other detainees in Azerbaijan. Moreover, as a result of ethnic cleansing carried out by Azerbaijan and the expatriation of Armenian people of Artsakh, the former military and political leadership of the Republic of Artsakh has been taken hostage by Azerbaijan. Since you are in Armenia, we feel that discussing these issues and taking appropriate action will be well-received by the Armenian public. Therefore, we strongly urge you to take urgent steps to release the abovementioned people from Azerbaijani captivity.

The individual and collective rights of more than 150.000 Armenian people of Artsakh are violated. They are expelled from their homes, from the lands of their ancestors where they have lived for thousands of years. This issue should be included in the agenda of the Council of Europe and find its resolution.

We thank you for understanding and for conveying to your colleagues that by remaining indifferent and silent on this issue they may be encouraging Azerbaijan to continue its genocidal policy and to carry out similar actions in the future. Indifference and impunity breed new crimes.

At the same time, we are sure that Azerbaijan is not the only one who sees this indifference. In the context of the current world events, this could be seen as an example of acceptable behavior. Such actions can be repeated in the future and the perpetrators will be able to get away with it.

Therefore, we urge you to publicly address all the above-mentioned issues and make every effort to include them in the CE agenda.

Thank you for your understanding and for taking the time to read this letter.

Respectfully,
Editor-in-Chief
AntiFake.am Astghik Matevosyan

Board Members
“Civil Consciousness NGO”
Davit Fidanyan
Aida Stepanyan
Marine Shahnazaryan
Lusine Arakelyan
Ishkhan Khosrovyan

08.04.2024".



Source Panorama.am
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