I received Sargis Hatspanian diary via email from a reader of this blog. I was assured and various signs suggest that this diary is genuine and does belong to Sargis. In there he describes his ordeal and provides detailed eyewitness account of police violent crackdown on peaceful protesters - many of them still asleep in their tents - early morning 1 March in Liberty sq.
Sargis Hatspanian was born in Turkey. He is a French citizen and has been living in Armenia since the early 90s. He is a Karabakh war veteran. He voiced his support for Armenia’s first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan and has been an active participant of opposition movement evolved in Yerevan Liberty sq.
On 27 February 2008 police representatives tried to take him to a police station for questioning, supposedly for “for his interference in Armenia’s political life”. However, their attempt was unsuccessful due to intervention by opposition and human rights activists, as well as his refusal based on foreign citizenship. Noyan Tapan reports that “he made a speech in front of the supporters of Levon Ter-Petrosian and participants of opposition movement gathered in Liberty sq before that and introduced his motivations for joining the movement. He also stated that he has become aware of the fact that the RA Police has planed his detention. In this respect Sargis Hatspanian declared that he "was put into prison in France, Germany, Turkey" for his position devoted to his nation "and is now ready to be put to prison for the same position in Armenia as well."
As Sargis Hatspanian mentioned in “Introduction”, his actual diaries chronicling daily events in Liberty sq (20 February – 1 March) were lost/burnt down or got confiscated by police during the dispersal. In this new diary written on 5 March 2008, he describes police brutality in such an emotional way that only a person been there could express, and only a person who is devoted to his motherland could express.
What makes this eyewitness account remarkable is not just persona of Sargis Hatspanian, Karabakh war veteran and well known public figure in Armenia and Diaspora, but the readiness expressed by the author to testify before an independent inquiry (if that ever happens).
He is in hiding now.
I am publishing below those pages from his diary which relate directly to the early morning events of 1 March 2008, Liberty sq, Yerevan. Diary is handwritten in Armenian. Click on pages to read (English titles of pages – mine, based on their content).
Page 1 – “Intro”
Page 11 – “Alarming call and disbelief”
Page 12 – “Wake-up, Sargis…”
Pages 13, 14 – “Police brutality” – “Ready to testify”
Pages 15, 16 – “I thought Ter-Petrosyan was killed” – “The end”
Page 17, last page – “This year spring did not come to Armenia”
*photo of Sargis Hatspanian - by Onnik Krikorian/Oneworld Multimedia 2008