Monday, 15 December 2008

Armenia’s “case of seven” under international scrutiny

In yet another sign that the upcoming trial of prominent opposition figures in Armenia, known as “the case of seven”, would be at the centre of international scrutiny, The Guardian publishes an article on what it calls “one of the [Armenia’s] biggest trials in its short history as an independent country, with a former foreign minister and three MPs among seven charged in connection with mass protests in which 10 people died.”
[...] "To me, it was like the death of my country," said Karine Asatryan, editor of the A1+ website, which was closed down during the news blackout. "It is nine months now and we still don't know what happened, no one believes the police version of events. As for the trial, I am sure they will all be found guilty unless there is international pressure."

Gegham Vardanyan, a journalist with Internews, said that the issue of elections remained unresolved. "Armenia has never had fair elections, there has always been fraud, people don't believe you can change that." As for the court case, "it is a political trial and what happens in it will depend on the political process". [...]
There is special blog set up to publicise the trial - Armenia Seven on Trial.

In its introductory post, this newly established blog notes: In a November 22, 2008 press conference in Yerevan, [Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights] Thomas Hammarberg characterized the prosecution of the opposition as “political vendetta” and told reporters, “I am critical about some of the trials that have already been concluded and about the preparation of the major case against the seven prisoners…I have not so far seen any strong evidence which would make it possible for an independent court to sentence these seven for attempting to change power in this country with violence.”

Trial of seven to begin 19 December 2008.

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