Sunday, 12 July 2009

Armenia, Azerbaijan: youth activists, bloggers under attack. Where are the Voices?

No one, absolutely no one can convince me that this guy - Tigran Arakelyan from pro-opposition HIMA youth movement, is able to chase and attack policemen. (my earlier post on the topic - here) Well, unless you present me with the video evidence, which should probably be made by a master in sci-fi cinema. You just have to look at this picture (via Nazarian) to understand what I am talking about.

Neither of South Caucasus countries are democratic. Azerbaijan is the most authoritarian and the least democratic among the three countries. However, when time comes to human rights abuses, differences in approaches become non-distinguishable, similarities in tactics and methods employed by the authorities become striking, as the case of now detained Azeri youth activists and bloggers Emin and Adnan proves.

Armenian authorities had a perfect opportunity, via the recently declared amnesty, to ease the internal tensions and put the country back on track into a civilised dialogue with the opposition and reforms to bring Armenia closer to Europe. They failed to do so spectacularly, as instead of applying the amnesty to all political prisoners, they did so selectively, and we still have number of them in prison (you may add now Tigran Arakelyan to the list too).

So where are the Voices, I wonder? Where are the voices inside the country who should protest, in this case, the latest incident of attacks on youth activists and detention of not the attackers but the one who got attacked? It’s these separate incidents which repeated eventually lead to 1 March-type events. Where are those so called independent youth groups who should protest the case? This should have nothing to do with the political views one hold. This is simply a matter of infringement of very basic human rights, which no one is spared of. Where is the so called ‘civil society’? Where is their voice? Are they waiting for a special grant to do so?

Luckily, there are blogs, there is Twitter, and there is Facebook, where free-minded individuals from all South Caucasus countries and Diaspora voice their protest, spread the news, and get organised.

Free Tigran Arakelyan and other political prisoners

Free Adnan and Emin


tzitzernak2 said...

"This should have nothing to do with the political views one hold. This is simply a matter of infringement of very basic human rights"
I think this is a critical point. It was true regarding the events of March 1, of the beatings and imprisonments before and since then. Somehow the undeniable fact that basic human rights are getting trampled gets lost in politics, especially party politics.
As you said so well, certain types of undeniable events - reporters being beaten, illegal imprisonment - should raise everyone's eyebrows.
What does it mean when it doesn't?

artmika said...

P.S. Forgot to say: Where is the human rights Ombudsman's outrage?..

artmika said...

South Caucasus Network for Human Rights Defenders condemns detention, beatings and denial of timely medical assistance to Azerbaijan youth activists


Poster in Yerevan: "Free youth activist"

artmika said...

Armenia: Ու՞ր ա Տիկոն

artmika said...

Cartoon: Tigran Arakelyan and Armenian police. Who knew? :)

artmika said...

Sadly, no surprises here: Court Extends Detention of Opposition Youth

*video: here

[...] The decision to extend Arakelian’s pre-trial detention for another two months was made in a closed-door court proceeding on Monday.

Arakelian’s defense attorney Vartuhi Elbakian called the court’s decision ‘ungrounded’. She, in particular, derided the court’s argument that Arakelian could obstruct investigation if released pending his trial.

Elbakian told RFE/RL that the body investigating the case plans to level a graver charge at her client, i.e. using violence against a representative of the authorities, which is punishable in Armenia by between five to ten years in prison.

Arakelian, who is currently in prison hospital, continues to complain of deteriorating eyesight and headaches, which he insists is the result of the head injuries inflicted on him by police. He categorically denies that the injuries confirmed by prison doctors were received while he was already in custody.

In a statement released on Monday, Arakelian threatened to refuse to take medication and to go on an open-ended hunger strike unless he is released or a ‘well-grounded’ charge is brought against him by September 6.

Armenia’s main opposition group has all along condemned Arakelian’s arrest and insisted that the violent incident was orchestrated by the police.

artmika said...

Good news of the day: (At last!) Armenian opposition youth activist Tigran Arakelyan has been released