Monday, 19 April 2010

Armenian police: shoot to kill?

...And here is the latest from our “purest” police where only “real men” work. (copyright - Armenia police chief Alik Sargsyan)

“The purest”? Remind me, when was the last time we heard of “the purest”? Oh, it was in another country, and some decades back, and ended up with the World War.

And this is against the backdrop of the very latest reports of alleged murder in Armenian police department of an Armenian citizen who was unfortunate enough to be taken to the police department for interrogation. You think people are safe in police departments? Think again. Only couple of days ago, head of police Alik Sargsyan were attempting at what increasingly looks like a cover up by presenting this case (below) as a ”suicide” and rejecting any possibility of police killing the citizen.

Now let’s read the latest links mentioning the ‘very pure’ Armenian police.

A murder in police
The citizen killed at the Police department of Charentsavan is Vahan Khalafyan, an inhabitant of Charentsavan, born in 1986. The information received to date comes to testify that the incident at the police station yesterday constitutes murder. The 24-year old detained young man was stabbed to death and murdered under unknown circumstances. Yet the Police try to cover up the incident and, no less than at the level of RA Police Chief Alik Sargsyan. As expected, the police are trying to present the case as suicide.

Prosecutors Probe Another Death In Armenian Police Custody
The Armenian police chief, Alik Sargsian, stood by this version of events at a news conference held on Wednesday. He dismissed claims, made by the dead man’s relative and backed by some Armenian newspapers, that Khalafian was tortured to death. [...]

Artur Sakunts, a prominent human rights campaigner investigating the affair, openly accused the Charentsavan police of brutally ill-treating Khalafian during the interrogation. He claimed that the three other local residents suspected of theft were also beaten up in police custody.

Ill-treatment of criminal suspects has long been regarded as the most frequent form of human rights violations in Armenia. Local and international human rights groups continue to accused the police and other law-enforcement bodies of extracting confessions by force and intimidation.

“Witnesses continued to report that police beat citizens during arrest and interrogation while in detention,” the U.S. State Department said in its annual report on human rights practices in Armenia released last month. It said “most cases of police mistreatment continued to go unreported because of fear of retribution.” Armenian courts usually dismiss torture claims made by suspects, added the report.

The Charentsavan incident is bound to prompt parallels with the May 2007 death in police custody of Levon Gulian, a 31-year-old resident of Yerevan. Gulian was questioned at the police Directorate General of Criminal Investigations as a presumed witness of a deadly shooting that took place outside a restaurant belonging to him.

The police claimed that Gulian fell to his death while attempting to escape from a second-floor interrogation room of the police building in downtown Yerevan. Gulian’s relatives, backed by human rights groups, vehemently disputed the claim, saying that he was apparently tortured before being thrown out of the window.

An Armenian Journalist Notes
Meanwhile Armenian blogger artakevn quotes his Vartan nephew’s and his colleague’s version on how it happened.

They Also Beat Him Up
The autopsy of 24 year-old Vahan Khalafyan, who had been taken to Charentsavan’s police department and later hospitalized with fatal wounds, was performed yesterday.
Two stab wounds and lacerations were found in the area of Vahan Khalafyan’s abdomen along with traces of violence on his legs. However, the examination of his clothing revealed no tears made by knife. This means that the young man’s abdomen was bared when he was stabbed.

When I first saw this poster (via Haykakan Zhamanak, via Nazarian), I thought it must be a photoshop. But as per above reports, it’s an actual poster put on display in Yerevan to mark Police Day, and on the same street where 1 March 08 bloodshed happened. I can imagine how staisfied Alik Sargsyan must have felt when looking at this poster. Now I understand what Armenia police chief meant by referring to “real men” that serve in police forces. Is this a new mission for our “real men”: shoot to kill “internal enemies”, or anyone perceived as such? A very different word comes to my mind instantly, and it does not include “police”.

*pictures - via Haykakan Zhamanak daily


Anonymous said...

Sorry to say this, but every time I see Alik Sargsian's face I just want to vomit....he is just disgusting. Remember his false accusations about Mariam s; his promises to catch all 'orenqov goxer'; his promise to find the killer of Mherian... his false statements on Police day & Gay day…he is just disgusting... and he is one of the main reasons I left Armenia…Haraj Hajastan!!! Mek qajl araj, erku qajl et!!!

artmika said...

Interview with mother of Khalafyan (video). It was not "suicide", it was a murder, insist relatives

artmika said...

Likbez for Armenia police chief: "Forced suicide" = Murder