Thursday, 6 March 2008

Detentions of opposition supporters in Vanadzor, Armenia

*news release by Vanadzor Helsinki Citizens' Assembly

5 March 2008

On March 3rd, 4th and 5th 2008, citizens were brought to police. Either they are activists of Levon Ter-Petrossyan’s pre-election offices or they participated in the rally or the strike.

On March 5th seven citizens were brought to Vanadzor police and have stayed there 2,5-6 hours. Those citizens were brought to police as suspects of the criminal case on mass unrest in Yerevan and were examined as witnesses. The fingerprints and photos of those people have been taken. They were asked why they had participated in the rallies and strikes.

Vanadzor citizen, Rubik Voskanyan, who was the head of Levon ter-Petrossyan’s pre-election campaign office in Vanadzor, was in Yerevan Center Police as a detainee. According to reliable information, his state of health was insufficient, as he had been beaten for being a sit-in striker. Though 72 hours of detention in police, which is defined by RA Criminal Code, expired, they continued to keep Rubik Voskanyan.

Whereabouts of Vanadzor local Mesrop Zakaryan, who was also a sit-in striker, is unknown. However, there are doubts that he is also in the police station of Shahumyan district in Yerevan. In fact, the relatives of detainees are not informed about their whereabouts and about the fact of keeping them in police stations. Only with the efforts of the Institute of the Ombudsman and OSCE Yerevan office it becomes possible to verify whereabouts of people.

The fact is concerning in a sense that the right of detainees and arrestees to have an advocate is not provided.

4 March 2008

On March 4th 2008, the employees of Vanadzor Police brought several Vanadzor locals to the Police department.

Peninyan Hapet, citizen of Vanadzor came to HCA Vanadzor and informed the following: “At about 11 in the morning the policemen visited my house. They brought my sons –Harutyun Peninyan, Hrayr Peninyan, and my relative Hosep Ter-Petrosyan to Vanadzor police station.” By the explanation of Hapet Peninyan, his sons participated in the rallies in Yerevan.
The police officers did not tell them anything even when Hapet Peninyan came to the police station at 12:30. After that Hapet Peninyan made a request to Vanadzor police station to get information about those who had been brought to the police station. A policeman at the entrance asked him to go back saying: “You bring your application as if there is time.”

The same day at 10:30 in the morning, Vahagn Martirosyan, a proxy of Levon Ter-Petrosyan, was brought to the police station. The policemen did not explain why they had brought them to the police station.

So far there hasn’t been any information about those who were brought to Vanadzor police station and they haven’t been released yet. Their legal status is not known either.

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