Pages

Friday, 10 October 2008

French-Armenian oppositionist and Karabakh war veteran Sargis Hatspanian faces deportation from Armenia

He was in hiding after 1 March events. He decided to come back, to his family, to his children, back to Armenia. It’s Sargis Hatspanian I am talking about, French-Armenian Karabakh war veteran, supporter of Armenia’s first president and opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan. He is now ‘blockaded’ in his own flat and faces possible extradition from Armenia. Circumstances of his case remain unclear, legality and actions by the authorities – questionable, to say the least.

Sargis Hatspanian visited his family members for the first time since he went underground after the events of March 1, however the police surrounded his home 10 minutes later. “I think the only reason for that is because I supported Levon Ter-Petrosian,” told “A1+ Sargis Hatspanian. Police surrounded the house and said that Sargis Hatspanian has an illegal status in Armenia and must be exiled.
Here are just few questions need to be asked:

Is there any law in Armenia which prohibits foreign citizens from peaceful participation in political life and actions, or from expressing their political views?

Could this be considered a warning to the Diaspora to stay away from the internal politics of Armenia?

If he got relieved of Armenian residency by a decree or executive order of the former president Kocharyan, why he was allowed to enter the country via Yerevan international airport, without any problems?

Was ex-president Kocharyan’s decree - or whatever it was - lawful, as according to Armenia’s human rights Ombudsman Armen Harutyunyan, a person cannot be deprived of residency (or deported) if he has underage children under his care?

That Kocharian signed a relevant executive order shortly before he left office was confirmed by officials at President Serzh Sarkisian’s administration. Under Armenian law, such orders take effect only after the official notification of individuals affected by them. “I am absolutely not aware of that decision,” insisted Hatspanian. He said he has left and returned to Armenia since March and had no problems with immigration authorities. “I flew back to Yerevan as recently as on the night from October 6 to 7. They told me nothing at the airport,” he said. Armen Harutiunian, Armenia’s human rights ombudsman, said he is dealing with the case and already has questions to the authorities. “His residency permit was revoked by the president but he still managed to re-enter Armenia,” Harutiunian told RFE/RL. “If that is confirmed, we need to clarify how he entered the country without having the right to live there.” Harutiunian added that under Armenian law, the authorities can not kick out Hatspanian because he has underage children in the country.
Sadly, as Sarkis put it in his diary (which I posted on Unzipped in the immediate aftermath of 1 March events), “this year spring did not come to Armenia.”


To read full post with Sargis Hatspanian's diary (eyewitness account of 1 March events in Liberty sq) - click here.

Below is a video via A1+. Plainclothed police officers could be seen at the Hatspanian’s apartment door. One of them told RFE/RL that they will stay there “until Mr. Sarkis comes out.”



*photo of Sargis Hatspanian - by Onnik Krikorian/Oneworld Multimedia 2008

26 comments:

Onnik Krikorian said...

According to legislation, the 10-year special residency is defined as part of the law on the status of foreign citizens in the Republic of Armenia. While it does safeguard the rights of foreign nationals, it also prohibits certain types of actions, including those that the authorities can determine to be against national security.

Yes, I know, this is a debatable point, but it is the authorities who determine this. There is also a provision prohibiting foreign nationals from joining a political party although again, this is a legal matter.

Did Hatspanian "join" or merely "support." Moreover, when you think of the number of foreign citizens who belong to the ARF-D, the law is obviously not being enforced.

THE LAW OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA ON THE STATUS OF FOREIGN CITIZENS IN THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA

[…]

CHAPTER 3. THE TYPES OF RESIDENT STATUS OF FOREIGN CITIZENS IN THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA, RULES FOR ITS GRANTING, DUTIES OF FOREIGN CITIZENS

[…]

Article 25. Rights and Duties of Foreign Citizens in the Republic of Armenia

A foreign citizen shall have in the Republic of Armenia a right to the freedom of thought, speech, conscience, religion in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Armenia.

[…]

A foreign citizen in the Republic of Armenia shall not have voting rights, may not join any political organization of the Republic of Armenia, may not be elected or appointed to the posts or carry on the activities, which are reserved for citizens of the Republic of Armenia by the legislation of the Republic of Armenia.

[…]

A foreign citizen shall not use his rights and freedoms to the detriment of the rights and freedoms of the citizens of the Republic of Armenia, other persons, the public order, general welfare, the national security of the Republic of Armenia.


http://www.legislationline.org/legislation.php?tid=11&lid=3546

Regardless, one suspects that most countries would deport foreign nationals in such a situation. That said, the procedural irregularities and the issue of children (are they citizens, residents?) is one of concern.

I'd also like to know if there is a procedure to appeal such a decision and whether the matter can be taken to court as it strikes me that the legislation perhaps being used is one that is open to interpretation.

parisan said...

The repression of Armenians by Armenians (!?) continues.

Good post! Well documented!

artmika said...

Here is a statement (in Armenian) by opposition Armenian National Congress led by Ter-Petrosyan:

Հայաստանում, Սփյուռքում եւ Լեռնային Ղարաբաղում քաջ հայտնի Սարգիս Հացպանյանը այն եզակի սփյուռքահայերից է, որը 1988թ. Ղարաբաղյան Շարժման առաջին իսկ օրերից իրեն մինչեւ վերջ նվիրեց Ղարաբաղյան շարժմանը: Նա Ղարաբաղյան պատերազմի հերոս է, առաջին իսկ օրից մինչեւ վերջ ազատագրական պայքարի մասնակից եւ Ղարաբաղին ամենաբազմազան օգնությունների կազմակերպիչ: Այդ մասին շատ լավ գիտեն եւ Ռ. Քոչարյանը, եւ Սերժ Սարգսյանը: Այդ ամենը, սակայն, նրանց համար ի չիք դարձավ, երբ պարզվեց, որ Սարգիս Հացպանյանը վերջին նախագահական ընտրությունների առիթով ծավալված համաժողովրդական շարժման կողմնակիցն է: Մարտի 1-ի սպանդից հետո, Ազատության հրապարակում իր մի քանի ելույթների համար, հետապնդումների ենթարկվեց նաեւ Սարգիս Հացպանյանը: Վերջին օրերին, երբ նա վերադարձել է իր բնակարան, ոստիկանությունը շրջափակել է այն` հանձնարարություն ունենալով նրան բռնի արտաքսել Հայաստանից:

Իր կատարած բազմաթիվ հանցանքների պատճառով սեփական ժողովրդից սարսափած վարչախումբը որպես գոյատեւման հիմնական միջոց շարունակում է ապավինել ապօրինությունների, մասնավորապես քաղաքական ընդդիմության ներկայացուցիչների նկատմամբ: Հենց այդ սերսափն է նրան ստիպում անազատության մեջ պահել բազմաթիվ քաղբանտարկյալների, իսկ Համաժողովրդական շարժման տասնյակ առաջամարտիկների, քաղաքական գործիչների նկատմամբ չդադարեցնել հալածանքները: Սարգիս Հացպանյանին Հայաստանից արտաքսելու վարչախմբի որոշումը ոչ միայն անհիմն է ու անբարոյական, այլեւ կոպտորեն խախտում է ՀՀ մի շարք օրենքներ: Մենք դատապարտում ենք այն եւ պահանջում անհապաղ դադարեցնել Արցախի հերոսներից մեկի նկատմամբ հալածանքն ու բռնությունները:

artmika said...

I suppose based on the legislation cited by Onnik, there could be couple of main points which the authorities may try to use.

First, the part about threats to the national security and public disorder is very dubious one which could be used whenever they want to silence the dissent. Also, it would be very difficult to objectively define when “freedom of thoughts/speech” (which is guaranteed) ends and “national security” comes forward. Did Hatspanian threaten the national security while defending Karabakh? Clearly, most - even within the authorities - would agree, that the answer is no. Did he do so by participating in opposition rallies? Here it depends on whether the authorities consider the opposition rallies as threat to the national security, which they obviously want to present as such, however so far neither Armenian courts nor prosecutor office failed to provide any evidence to support this claim.

And second, whether Hatspanian joined the political party (I do not know) or merely supported it. If he did join, then he clearly violated the provisions of residency. But then again this article should be either uniformly enforced (e.g. ARF Dashnaktsutyun) or not enforced at all.

Finally, if the Ombudsman is right, then as Hatspanian has underage children under his care, he cannot be deported.

So there are many questions which the authorities have to answer to try to convince the public that their actions are not politically motivated which, in my opinion, clearly are, in this case. If they care about public opinion, of course...

artmika said...

In an interview with pro-opposition Haykakan Zhamanak daily, Hatspanian says that his wife is Armenian citizen, he has 2 children, and he would rather commit suicide than leave his family and Armenia. He also informs that French embassy in Armenia is now involved in this case.

Սա բոլոր արժեքների այլասերում է

«Հացպանյանը մարտի 1-ից հետո Երևանում չէր և վերադարձել է միայն երեկ։ Նրա տուն մտնելուց 10 րոպե անց ոստիկանները շրջափակել են Հայցպանյանի բնակարանը և երեկ ողջ օրվա ընթացքում այնտեղ էին։ Երեկ առավոտյան Հացպանյանը հեռախոսով պատասխանել է «ՀԺ»-ի հարցերին։

- Իմ կինը ՀՀ քաղաքացի է, մենք 2 երեխա ունենք, և ես Հայաստանում մշտապես ապրելու իրավունք ունեմ։ Պարզապես, ամբողջ անհեթեթությունն այն է, որ մի կես ժամ առաջ ենք իմանում, որ Ռոբերտ Քոչարյանը մարտի 13-ին ինձ Հայաստանում բնակվելու 10 տարվա հատուկ կարգավիճակից հատուկ կարգադրությամբ զրկել է, որի մասին ոչ ոք չգիտի։ Ոչ մի տեղ ոչ մի ծանուցում չի եկել, ոչ ոք այդ մասին չի իմացել։ Այս ի՞նչ ամոթալի վիճակ է, ես չեմ հասկանում։ Այսչափ ապերախտություն չեմ հասկանում։ Ես թե Արցախում, թե Հայաստանում վաստակ ունեմ, քրտինք եմ թափել։ Ես կյանքս եմ տվել այս երկրի համար, այ մարդ։ Սա՞ էր Սփյուռքի համար Հայաստանը ...
- Իսկ Ֆրանսիայի դեսպանատունը որևէ կերպ միջամտո՞ւմ է։
- Երեկ գլխավոր հյուպատոսի հետ եմ խոսել, նա զայրացած էր, ասաց, որ բոլոր քայլերը կանեն, որովհետև ամբողջ ընտանիքով համարակալված ենք Ֆրանսիայի դեսպանատանը ...
- Հիմա ի՞նչ եք անելու։
- Այս պահին ոստիկանության Կենտրոնի բաժնի պետ Արթուր Մեհրաբյանը խոսում է պատգամավորներ Արծվիկ Մինասյանի և Անահիտ Բախշյանի հետ։ Ասում է, որ ես պետք է դեպորտացիայի ենթարկվեմ։ Բայց մենք Հայաստանից դուրս չենք գա։ Ես երեխաներիս, կնոջս հետ բենզինը կլցնենք, մեզ կվառենք, բայց այստեղից ես չեմ գնա, Հայաստանը ես չեմ լքի»։

Anonymous said...

A foreign citizen with residential status has a right to justice. So the legal way is to apply court against decision of deportation.

I am not sure about Armenia but in Germany even illegal migrant applies to courts against the deportation decisions.

From political point of view this case is funny since RK was for double citizenship and that diaspora integration with Armenia, while ANM had a clear discourse for not allowing foreign citizens' intervention into Armenian politics even if the person is Armenian. This case shows that neither political party has an ideology and principles to follow. Just interests ...

Onnik Krikorian said...

The matter of Hatspanian's wife and kids obviously makes his situation very different. Actually, it is a matter of human rights -- dividing a family.

I'd also agree that there should be an appeals procedure even if Hatspanian has to be taken into custody first. This is how the matter of illegal immigration would be handled elsewhere.

Basically, the prosecution would have to prove that Hatspanian was a threat to national security. And yes, I realize totally that this clause could be used against anyone the authorities don't like.

As an example, Tom de Waal was denied a visa to Russia to launch the Russian language translation of Black Garden on the grounds of national security, so it's not out of the realms of possibility that such an approach could be taken here.

As for LTP, yes, there was at least one ARF-D member from the Diaspora who was expelled, I believe, and the point about dual citizenship and Diaspora involvement in politics a valid one. However, that is kind of secondary to the matter at hand.

What matters is what legislation allows, and how it is enforced and implemented. It is possible that Hatspanian could be shown to be a threat to national security, I suppose, but the authorities need to prove that in a court of law.

Nevertheless, the family issue changes the situation somewhat, and if he can be shown to have violated other laws he should be prosecuted for that and not deported, perhaps.

Onnik Krikorian said...

And actually, we're missing another point, perhaps. That is, an amnesty for those who were not guilty of direct violent action during the post-election period. Would strike me as not being unreasonable to expect if a) the government wants to restore some trust among sections of the population and b) earn some brownie points from the international community.

On the face of it, although this assumes it's only his public support for LTP which pissed off Kocharian, I wouldn't imagine that Hatspanian's case is serious enough to rule out leniency given his involvement during the Karabakh conflict. Indeed, it would be a welcomed gesture from Sargsyan even if it would likely irk Kocharian.

Unless there is an appeals procedure, I think that Sargsyan should personally intervene in this case. I don't think that's too much to expect unless there are details we don't know about.

Anonymous said...

weel, from human rights point of view it really changes the case. Politicizing this issue is in some way cynical since the matter of family and children is a way too important. However, what I understand is that Hatspanian himself politicizes this issue or we have a case when political interests just using him like was in the case of Parisian Coffee.

However, one would expect of him saying "At this moment I am interested in my family and children, politics is of second priority". I can even speculate that LTP's usage of 1988 frames to current movement made Hatspanian taking the role of hero like he did in NKR war. I don't think that its the same heroism and such behavour may ruin his family with the hands of current regime. hmmmm, and probably average Armenian mind will blame him first ... too sad

nazarian said...

Well, the decision to put him on a watch list and now the decision to deport him are political decisions so you can't say that he is politicizing the issue.

Also, it is naive to site laws and stuff in Armenia. It's a banditocracy where the ruling elite do whatever they want including killing Armenian citizens with impunity.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Also, it is naive to site laws and stuff in Armenia. It's a banditocracy where the ruling elite do whatever they want including killing Armenian citizens with impunity.

Well, naive or not, the fact is that the situation about banditocracies and extra-judicial killings existed under both LTP and Kocharian. Moreover, I don't believe it would change on the basis of which individual is in power.

Instead, regardless of whether they function or not, they must be MADE to work and people should start looking into fighting that battle rather than politicize everything. The latter approach does not work and is more likely to work against Hatspanian than for him.

Indeed, when it comes to human rights protection, the only thing that does matter is the law. Otherwise, both the government and opposition are guilty of acting outside the law and show the same disregard for it when it suits them.

For the international community, for example, it is such matters, including due process, which count most. Then the case can be rightly argued about whether something is political or not, and whether it contradicts the law or the constitution.

Really, it's the only way things will change. It's what's urgently needed here, in fact, although yes, nobody said it would be easy. People need to fight for the law to be upheld and implemented correctly, rather than considering themselves to be above it.

Everyone has an excuse for not observing the law or using it only when it suits them. This situation HAS to change and is the only proper way forwards. Anyway, I'm sure this case will be viewed from a legal aspect as it should be.

Probably, those wanting to help Hatspanian will be looking to determine whether he is in violation of any legislation rather than choose just to support him because he's on "their" side rather than the "other."

And anyway, I think there is a strong argument to make any appeal a showcase trial. The government would have to prove he was a threat to national security and I'm not sure they can do that unless there's something we don't know about.

Anonymous said...

===Well, the decision to put him on a watch list and now the decision to deport him are political decisions ===

true, and this political decision violated human rights of Hatspanian, His family, his children


===so you can't say that he is politicizing the issue.===

I can say that until Hatspanian starts calling for and defending his human rights. Instead he /or as is presented by some agitprop and media outlets/ makes political moves and speeches.

///Also, it is naive to site laws and stuff in Armenia.///

hmmm, so we shouldn't call about Hatspanian's [and his family's] human rights and view the issue only at political level? Isn't this called politicization of the issue?

///It's a banditocracy where the ruling elite do whatever they want including killing Armenian citizens with impunity.///

At least police don't break the door to 'kill' him. Constitution prohibits it. Strange that this fact contradicts to your claims.
Nazarian, human psychology is sometimes very fragile, and manipulated frames and messages may easily uncover in a person a martyr's complex, so that Hatzpanian is ready to suffer in the name of Armenia. I am not sure and I only speculated that using 1988 frames probably opened such complex in many including Hatzpanian. This is a long topic in may opne pandora box about March 1-2, but what I care now is Hatspanian's family and kids. And I see that politicization harms to his human rights.

Ani said...

In every repressive regime, there eventually comes a case that is so outrageous that no amount of spin can be put on the repression. Hatspanian himself should put the focus on his family (lots of pictures of his wife and children are helpful), how he's been separated and can no longer bear to be so, and let others talk about the politics. I think the French Embassy is going to be all over this one.

Actually, Sargsyan would be doing himself a favor to grant leniency on this and not let it go to court, because this court case will get lots more international attention than those that have been against "ordinary" Armenians, and it will shine a bright light on what's been going on.

me said...

"In every repressive regime, there eventually comes a case that is so outrageous that no amount of spin can be put on the repression."

ani, the problem is we reach this threshold 5-6 times a day in Armenia, and nothing changes. I'd like to say that I'm stunned that there are still people clothed in a ridiculously false veil of neutrality that insist on justifying outrage after outrage with the tired "well these things happened under LTP, too" line, but I'm not.

I'll leave everyone with this:
Մենք մեկ անգամ ևս սփյուռքահայերին հոդաբաշխ ձևով հասկացրինք, որ նրանց գործը մեզ փող տալն է միայն, այն էլ պայմանով, որ քիթները չխոթեն մեր գործերի մեջ: Այս ենթատեքստում ուղղակի զավեշտական է հնչում այն պնդումը, որ հայրենիքը կարող է շենացվել համայն հայության միջոցով: Ըստ երևույթին, հարկ էր ճշտել, ոչ թե միջոցով, այլ միջոցներով:

Եւ, վերջապես, ցավալի է այն, որ չհասցրինք վայելել ՀՀ նախագահի այն ճշմարիտ միտքը, որ հայության ուժը նրա բազմազանության մեջ է, երբ մեկ անգամ ևս պարզվեց, որ հայության ուժը «հավսար, զգաստ»-ի մեջ է: Ուրիշ ինչ եզրակացնես, երբ մարդ հետապնդվում է այլակարծության համար:

Պատիվ ունեմ ճանաչելու Սարգիս Հացպանյան մարդուն, հայրենասերին, մտավորականին, կարող եմ վկայել հայրենանվիրման նրա բազմաթիվ դրսևորումների մասին ու ցավում եմ, շատ եմ ցավում, որ այսօր հենց նրա նմանն է որոնվում: Այս ցավը միայն նրանը չէ, բարիկադված դռան ետևում ծվարած ու վախվորած նրա զավակներինը չէ, այլ բոլորինս ու մեր զավակներինը:

ԳԵՂԱՄ ԲԱՂԴԱՍԱՐՅԱՆ
ԼՂՀ ԱԺ պատգամավոր

Ani said...

Well, that’s all too true of course, but I am hoping for the “French Connection” to give this case more international visibility and traction.

Speaking of the French, just an aside: I have a book in front of me now that discusses the French police state of Napoleon III in 1853. During this time, in which Haussmann “the builder” was doing wholesale demolition of low-income housing, and Victor Hugo had been forced to flee into exile (that’s when he wrote “Les Miserables”—his works were smuggled back into France sewed into women’s petticoats), in order to properly spy on people, the government ordered that all flowerpots be banned from windowsills. You see, there’s always something else outrageous that the authorities can try….

Anonymous said...

"Well, that’s all too true of course, but I am hoping for the “French Connection” to give this case more international visibility and traction."

What for???

Onnik Krikorian said...

I'm stunned that there are still people clothed in a ridiculously false veil of neutrality that insist on justifying outrage after outrage with the tired "well these things happened under LTP, too" line

Like I said, it doesn't matter who is in government and who is in opposition now or in the future. Regardless of how the battle lines are drawn, the law must function properly and there must be due process. It might be the most important thing to fight for in Armenia (and elsewhere), in fact.

Ani said...

Onnik, it does matter “who” is in government (eight years of U.S. President Gore vs. U.S. President Bush might have been a bit different, don’t you think?), but I do agree with your basic sentiment. If one chooses “what” as the polestar (basic freedoms, rule of law, functioning courts, etc.) then “who” becomes the means of getting to “what” and voids the “well, LTP did it too” arguments as well as the OSCE’s “good enough for Armenia” grading on a curve of the elections.

The important thing to remember about “who” is that “who” has the capacity for change. In fact, when a “who” does change (let’s consider the biblical story of Saul becoming Paul), that’s when change is most likely to occur. The single best thing that’s happened in Armenia in the last few months is the unexpected advocacy of the Human Rights Ombudsman Armen Harutiunian, who Kocharian condemned as his “worst decision.”

To Anonymous: I’m looking for a tipping point, the point at which it becomes more convenient for the Armenian government to allow Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms rather than to repress them, when it becomes too embarrassing to continue along the current path.

Anyway, a quote I came across--one can only hope, right? “Don’t part with your illusions; when they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.”—Mark Twain.

Onnik Krikorian said...

You know, what I think is naive is when people put all their faith in one person -- in this case, the president. They did that with Ter-Petrossian and then with Kocharian and in both cases, they were wrong. What matters instead is for people to believe in and fight for the rule of law regardless.

I mean, none of my friends in England believe that any prime minister is some "saviour." Moreover, they are only as good as the checks and balances to their power and they don't exist because whoever is in power believes in that too.

They exist because of public pressure as well as that from the media and civil society. This is a lesson we need to learn in Armenia rather than follow "messiah" figures who time has shown merely continue the very system that they benefit from when they have the possibility to do so.

We need to get away from this personality-driven approach to politics and instead concentrate on strengthening the institutions which should allow the law and constitution to work in the interest of the majority.

grigor said...

Onnik, you seem to be the only online Armenian with whom I completely agree. It is important that people be in the middle rather than clustered behind politicians, that is the only way any society can function normally and that is the only way one can have a society where human rights are never violated.

Haik said...

Onnik
Do you still believe in Armenian courts of justice and their interpretation or enforcement of justice or even the law?

artmika said...

Update: Radio Liberty reports that Hatspanian intends to appeal to the court Armenia’s former president Kocharyan’s decision to deprive him of the residency status. However, so far he has not received the document itself.

In the meantime, number of Armenian cultural workers signed an open letter to the incumbent president Serj Sargsyan demanding his administration to reveal the grounds based on which Hatspanian was deprived of the residency. Unless explanations are provided as to the grounds, Armenian public will consider this action as yet another attempt to shut down the dissent in the country, as well as a warning to the Diaspora, says the letter.

artmika said...

Haik, I personally have little faith in Armenian justice system and courts. But I do believe that, along with other actions, we should continue challenging the system by using all legal means available. Exposing the system's deficiencies and challenging them, again and again, however tiring and hopeless it may seem, is the right way forward. Accompanied, of course, by public pressures, media, civil society etc etc.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Mika, I agree, and it will change one day, but it will ONLY be through constant pressure no matter how hard of how tiring the process might be. Actually, I think that this needs to be our main focus from now on. It's the only way things will change, but no, it's not going to be easy. It never is.

pigh said...

I think it would be interesting to find out the real identity of Hatspanian

Varouzhan Karapetyan was the person in charge of military affairs in the European office of ASALA. In 1983, he was arrested in France after the terrorist act organized in the French airport “Aurles” and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Eighteen years after serving his sentence in France, V. Karapetyan was released. On April 24, 2001 he came to Armenia, settled in his homeland, and now lives in Dilijan, in a house he has built on his own.

“My patience is exhausted. Those who rob others of their glory have increased in number, and they abuse the human sacrifice. It’s now time to speak and tell the truth,” VAROUZHAN KARAPETYAN said in an exclusive interview to “Hayots Ashkharh”.


“Mr. Karapetyan, you have never had an interview with the Armenian journalists although you have been living in Armenia for more than 7 years now. What has made you so indignant that you decided to express your opinion in the press?”

“When the ox ploughs the field, the wooden plough pulls it from behind and the animal sweats. The sweat attracts the lice which never miss the chance to say at the end that they have ploughed the field on their own. This is the philosophy of our life.

The best guys sacrificed their lives, while the time-servers are now using their merit. We initiated the operation of “Aurles” airport ourselves, as a sign of protest against Levon Ekmedjyan’s being hanged in Istanbul in 1982. We had planned to blow up the plane belonging to the “Turkish Airlines” company, which was transporting high-ranking officials, Generals and diplomats of the Turkish intelligence service. Our target was definitely clear. During the operation, 10 Turks were killed and other 60 were injured.

I was arrested, served my sentence and then was released, and, as a representative of the third generation of an Armenian emigrant, I returned to my homeland. In the course of the past 7 years, I never displayed any kind of political orientation.

When, in the 1970’s, we founded the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia, our struggle was not class-oriented, and it didn’t bear a political character; our principal goal was to liberate the occupied lands of Armenia. In 1991, Armenia regained its independence. Therefore, the issue of the Armenian Cause is to be resolved by the Armenian statehood, and it should never be adjusted to the mentality of a certain group or party. The state mentality is the pledge of the existence of our statehood. In the 1990’s, when the existence of our motherland was at stake, the consolidation of the power of Armenians in Artsakh had become an imperative.

When the war or battle is over, the freedom fighter who was ready to become a martyr should realize that his mission is over, and he should be able to take a halt and cease the struggle. A freedom fighter must be able to keep his name high; he must never stagnate, never appear on the political arena and spot his reputation. And this is exactly what many friends of mine and many freedom fighters did.

However, it turns out that when the lion is missing, the foxes begin dancing in the forest. And one of such foxes is the criminal who introduces himself as Sargis Hatspanyan.”

“Who is, after all, Sargis Hatspanyan who currently acts as a ‘pro-Levon activist’”? What does he have to do with the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia?”

“When we were arrested, Sargis Hatspanyan was one of the time-servers who took advantage of our status. He came to the independent state of Armenia, introduced himself as a fighter and even the leader of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia and speculated the most sacred patriotic sentiments of our people.

Hatspanyan was a mysterious nature. His real surname was Ekmedjyan. When living in France, he speculated the fact of bearing the same surname as martyr hero Levon Ekmekdjyan but as a matter of fact, he had no relationship with either Levon or our army. In this way, he managed to organize several donations in the Diaspora. He extorted and realized the sums that were collected with the purpose of providing aid to the arrested freedom fighters as well as assisting in the war of Artsakh.

He didn’t have a house in France; in that sense, he was a vagabond. But he managed to amass a fortune due to his charity organization. Now, Sargis Ekmedjyan has translated his surname from Turkish and become Hatspanyan; he now has a luxurious shop in the Northern Avenue and a house in Toumanyan Street.

The so-called Hatspanyan now introduces himself as a freedom fighter of the detachment which was led by hero of the Artsakh war Leonid Azgaldyan and a former member of ASALA, although he had never had anything in common with the secret army; neither had he been in the battlefields of Artsakh, at least for an hour.

I have met him only once. During our conversation, he refused to confess that he had ever introduced himself as a member of ASALA, but he insisted that he had been put to prison in France in 1983, in the frameworks of the “Aurles” case. I thought I might not have recognized him or be unaware of his involvement. However, I learnt from Rene Levonyan, honored priest of the Armenian Evangelistic Church, that the so-called Hatspanyan was not only an obscene liar but also a robber of the glory gained at the price of the sufferings of others. That wretched creature who poses danger to society reminds me of one story.

Two prisoners were close friends. When the time of their release drew near, one of them asked the other what he was going to do after being released from prison. And he reminded his prison mate that he had been put to prison for killing one of the two villains of their village and wouldn’t be able to live in peace unless he squared accounts with the other. The other said that he was going to build a private house on the top of the mountain and live there in peace with his family. Years later, the former visits his friend, sees that he has translated his desires into reality and feels happy for him. Then he confesses that he hasn’t put his plans into practice because the villains in the village had increased in number while he was serving his sentence in prison.

The same I can say about myself. When I was released from prison, I saw that the villains had increased in number. It is very hard to put up with the idea that the villains enjoy the products of your sacrifice. But what to do when there are a lot of such villains. You can’t kill them all. So, it is necessary to reveal their essence. The people have a wise proverb which says what is done by night appears by day, and the truth has to be disclosed.

I just dread when the time-servers and immoral creatures start expressing concerns over the Artsakh issue. For such kind of people, Armenia is the beautiful lady they want to rape. This is why I decided to interrupt my silence.

GEVORG HAROUTYUNYAN

artmika said...

Hatspanian is arrested ( A1+ , Hetq Online, Haykakan Zhamanak). Reportedlly he was arrested for the claims (charged for making “false claims”) he made in an interview with the Haykakan Zhamanak daily on assassination plot against incumbent Armenian president Serj Sargsyan by people allegedly behind the former president Robert Kocharyan.

I think Hatspanian should have avoided making these allegations, as he is most certainly won’t be able to provide any evidence to support his claims. On their side, the authorities gained more ‘grounds’ to perhaps re-start the deportation process (still, the legality of this remains questionable because of Hatspanian’s children who are Armenian citizen) or at least legal prosecution which is in process now.

Pigh, as to the allegations by that guy re Hatspanian, published in Hayots Ashkharh, I would not take them seriously until real evidence, and not just words, revealed.