Monday, 14 April 2008

1 March events official death toll rises to 10. So how many were killed in Yerevan?

It was announced today that civilian Samvel Harutyunyan, 29-year old, died of head injuries in the hospital. Interestingly, only 3 days after he died, on the day of his funeral, we learned about it. What kind of cover up is it? I wonder how many others died that we do not know yet about? Officially, at least one more civilian remains in a serious condition in one of Yerevan hospitals.

In the meantime, according to Azeri news agency APA, referring to John Prescott’s Council of Europe report on Yerevan events, “28 people had been killed in the confrontations during Armenian presidential elections, not 8 as it had been reported before. 8 of them died in the squares, 20 later in hospitals. John Prescott also said that military equipment, grenades had been used against the demonstrators.”


Onnik Krikorian said...

Wait a minute, so the opposition media and Ter-Petrossian's team are covering up the extra 20 dead?

That said, deaths after the fact -- of both civilians and police/soldiers -- is not exactly a cover up.

However, until they happen, and until RFE/RL, A1 Plus and all the other opposition leaning outlets cover it, I'm not going to take the Azeri report as fact.

Besides, I see no mention of it in the official CE report published on A1 Plus today.

Yes, there are rumors that more protesters died, rumors that more soldiers died, but so far nobody has been able to confirm this.

Instead we've had two more casualties -- one from both sides -- who died in the past few days from their wounds.

Still, as we both agree, it makes the need for an independent and transparent inquiry all the more urgent.

Onnik Krikorian said...

In fact, I can't see mention of any of the claims the Azeri report mentions in Prescott's report. Unless I'm missing something, all there is this:

67. In the early morning on 1 March 2008, the Police attempted a search of the tent camp on Freedom Square. After they met with resistance from the protesters, the police took the decision to clear the tent camp. During this action, 31 persons were injured – according to official information – and Mr Levon Ter-Petrossyan was placed under a de facto house arrest.

68. The protesters reconvened later in the afternoon in another part of Yerevan, which led to clashes between the police and protesters. In the evening of 1 March, the situation had deteriorated to such an extent – with 7 protesters and 1 policeman dead (according to official figures) – that President Kocharyan decided that the situation was affecting the stability of the country and declared a State of Emergency in Yerevan.

And why on earth are we considering Azeri reports when there are plenty pro-opposition publications here anyway who would have broken the news long before anyway?

Like I said, if the allegations were made, they'll be on A1 Plus and RFE/RL by the end of the day. I'm afraid I have to wait for that before I'll consider them seriously.

artmika said...

Onnik, of course I am referring to possible cover up by government. As we all know, opposition resources and abilities are very limited now. Besides, I do not understand why we should learn about the death of civilian with 3 day delays? In any case, may be official statistics are right, may be - no.

Btw, I intentionally cited Azeri news agency as a protest for the government’s refusal so far to accept the proposal for independent inquiry.

ՀՀ said...

Onnik there are no sides here:
There is only one side that suffered that is, the people.

Still I don’t understand that what do you have against the opposition? Is it personal?

you still fail to recognise teh core. If the people were given the chance for true elections Serj wouldnt be where he is now. He as the PM and kocharyan as the president had enough time to recall the elections if it went out of their control and if they were interested to see fair elections.
It all started on the 19th of March when the rights of people were taken away. March 1st was the continuation when lives were taken away.

Onnik Krikorian said...

hh, your question is loaded and designed to push the discussion elsewhere. However, I will say god help a country that had a choice of Serge Sargsyan and Levon Ter-Petrossian as president. That's the most depressing aspect of this whole election, in fact. Perhaps it's for this reason that the majority of Armenians voted for neither.

Back to the case in hand, however, and as I said, when I read the Azeri allegations in the international media and even the local opposition press, then I think I can consider them of some substance. Until then, especially as A1 Plus actually has the full text of Prescott's report, I can't.

I think that's pretty logical, don't you? As for when the story of the ninth victim was released, well, one would suppose that the family were told first and then the media wasn't working over the weekend? Don't know. Perhaps someone should ask them.

Otherwise, yes, argument accepted. There is so much gossip going around that there really has to be fully independent and transparent inquiry launched sooner rather than later. And it has to have the involvement of all the parties involved as well as major international involvement (governments, international human rights groups etc).

Re. a cover-up, I will, however, mention again that it was suggested by one USAID project head a week after 1 March that Levon was now negotiating with the authorities to save his own neck. The rationale for this was that a) he's remained largely silent since, and b) he has not disputed, and has even used, the official figures for the number that died.

Maybe USAID know something we don't? Who know? However, I will say that the Azeri report so far does not appear to be backed up by any others. Again, until that situation changes, I have to treat the report with a lot of caution. Is that being anti-opposition?

Hell, no. It's being quite logical and interested in finding out what the situation is. As for "recognizing the core," I think I clearly do. That is, Serge Sargsyan and Levon Ter-Petrossian DID NOT win the 19 February presidential election. A second round should have been called and it is unknown who would have won that.

However, both were willing to come to power by any means possible and neither gave a damn about democracy or the people. For god's sake, neither had the support of the majority. Anyway, you've gone off topic, and are trying to make this personal to deflect from concerns anyone would have with the Azeri report.

That's pretty typical of the low level of independent and democratic thought in this election, I think. The whole country suffered, and the people were indeed the victims. But those guilty for such a situation were Levon Ter-Petrossian, Robert Kocharian, and Serge Sargsyan.

That's my viewpoint, and that's my position. End of topic.

artmika said...

*ArmInfo reports:
2008-04-14 15:07:00

Heritage Party rep.: By unofficial data, the number of 1 March unrest casualties grew by three people

'I have information, which, however, needs confirmation, that the number of 1 March unrest casualties has grown by three and not by one person, Political Secretary of Heritage opposition party Vardan Khachatryan said at Friday Debate Club, Monday.

Parliamentarians from Heritage will try to verify the information by contacting the relatives of the killed. 'First of all it is necessary to find out where and when the people died. These are the most important questions that the Prosecutor General's Office fails to answer', V. Khachatryan said.

As regards the publications that a certain general of Russian Federal Security Service with his detachment participated in the operation against the Armenian opposition, the politician said the party will apply to the RF Embassy in Armenia for verification of the information and will inform the public of the reply. Asked about the possible dialogue of the authorities and the opposition, V. Khachatryan expressed doubt on it since 'police officers who abused their power have been advanced in office instead of being punished'.

artmika said...

Here is what I posted on 3 March 2008. It seems to me very relevant to re-read that again.

OSCE envoy: Death toll may rise to 12

Heikki Talvitie, OSCE envoy who is in Yerevan as part of EU diplomacy to mediate solution in Armenia's political crisis (not successful so far), says that although official info states death toll at 8, he heard of 12 killed as a result of weekend clashes in Yerevan and he thinks that death toll would be adjusted.

yervand said...

there has been rumor that relatives of the kiled people on march 1st, were forced by the authorities to agrre reporting their deaths as an accidents not relted to march 1st, that is before or after 1st of march! all this was done under intimidation and bribing attemts!

Anonymous said...

Whatever rumours appear, the government is the sole responsible for that.
1. It refuses to allow independent investigation
2. it closed down all the media outlets except for those controlled by the government for 20 days, it confiscated all the footage that has been shot by the non-government journalists.
3. it explicitly lied about not using firearms at all(even for shooting in the air)and also that there was NO car accident.
both points have been proven wrong by video-evidence.
As a result government has completely lost its credibility.

So the sole responsibility for
this uncertainty rests on the government.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the movie
"Run, Fat boy, run".
If you have I'm sure you'd understand what I mean...

yervand said...

I should add point 4 to what anonymous said

4. PM from zarnagutyun were not allowed (which is against law) to enter morgues protected by military forces after march 1st and to see how many victims where ther in relaity!

ՀՀ said...

Onnik it is up to the citizens of the RA to elect whomever they want to.
and this freedom and right for choice should never been taken. If it is Levon or Serj let the people to choose.
If you have decided not to give your vote to neither Serj or Levon it is your right.
Your criticism towards opposition gives the impression that you try to justify the falsified elections and the current dictatorship.

artmika said...

hh, I would ask to keep the discussion more directly related to the topic of this post. Thanks.

Armen Filadelfiatsi said...

Yes, and with regard to this particular issue, we should also add points

5. In trying to disperse the assemblies, first at Freedom plaza and then at the French Embassy, the police neither made the organizers aware of their intentions, nor announced to the people that they were going to use force. That is a direct violation of RA law.

6. When arresting and beating (let alone murdering) demonstrators, the police did not inform them beforehand a) what their intentions were and b) what the legal bases of their intentions were. That is also a violation of the law.

We all know that this list we're making is loooong, indeed.

No sane person could look at LTP and RK as equally responsible without making some bizarre bullshit up.

Also, if you think LTP came back out of some kind of power lust, you're misreading the signs, Onnik. I've been thinking about this a while now and trying to put it all together: he came back out of guilt. He felt guilty for putting the yolk of RK and SS around the collective neck of the Armenian people. He even mentioned that in a speech he made in, I think, January. He wasn't lying. That explains a lot, to me.

Armen Filadelfiatsi said...

Also, why are you assuming that the Opposition is participating in the cover up?

Say the Opposition knows that that there really were 10, 20, 30 more killed. But does it have proof? Proof that would stand up in a "trial"? If it doesn't, then it is absolutely in no position to formally accuse SS of covering the deaths up. Because, in that case, SS would ask the Opposition to furnish proof, and, unable to do so, the Opposition would look like it is making false accusations.

That explains why the Opposition is silent on the matter.