September 13, 2017
Armenian National Platform of the EaP Civil Society Forum is deeply concerned about the over 12-month detention of Andreas Ghukasyan, member of “New Armenia” opposition movement.
Andreas Ghukasyan was detained on July 29, 2016, when the Police used special measures against the protest participants in Sari Tagh district of Yerevan, and then subjected the protesters, journalists to physical violence and persecution.
Later, the use of force by the Police was justified by the necessity to prevent mass disorders. The prevention of mass disorders was also put forward as a ground to institute fabricated criminal prosecution against political activists. Andreas Ghukasyan, together with other eight people was accused of organizing and participating in mass disorders, and detention as a preventive measure was applied towards the latter. Currently, Andreas Ghukasyan is the only person subjected to criminal prosecution on the above-mentioned charges: his measure of restraint has not been changed, and he still remains in prison.
The motion to prolong the term of the application of detention as a preventive measure towards Andreas Ghukasyan has been discussed at more than 16 closed court sessions. As stated by the lawyer of Andreas Ghukasyan, his defendant has been deprived of the opportunity to subject the evidence to examination to defend himself against the charges brought against him: 31 motions submitted by him have been rejected. Earlier, Human Rights Watch international human rights organization had urged the Armenian authorities to revise the request for the detention of Andreas Ghukasyan and release him.
At the same time, the domestic courts replaced the restraint measures with bail and released Davit Sanasaryan, Armen Martirosyan and Hovsep Khurshudyan, who, like Andreas Ghukasyan, were detained on the same grounds of organizing and participating in mass disorders. These persons, as opposition political figures, were singled out by international organizations, and under the pressure of the latter their detention was replaced with bail.
Whereas during the examination of the appeal submitted by the lawyer of Andreas Ghukasyan at the RA Court of Appeals, the judge asked Andreas Ghukasyan whether he was going to continue his opposition activities if released. Having received a firm positive response by Andreas Ghukasyan, the RA Court of Appeals made a decision to continue his detention.
Moreover, on April 19, 2017 the preliminary investigation body extended the volume of complaints against Andreas Ghukasyan, accusing him of an attempt of seizing buildings, facilities, taking hostages, acquisition, sale, storage, transportation, or carrying of explosives or explosive devices. The criminal case involving Andreas Ghukasyan was separated from the criminal case against the others, and the trial started on August 2, 2017.
The testimonies of two witnesses involved in the case by the Police served as a ground for the preliminary investigation body to extend the volume of accusations. According to these testimonies, after his speech at Liberty Square on July 29, 2016 Andreas Ghukasyan approached the witness and 15 other people and told them to pick up stones. One of these witnesses involved by the Police is registered at Avan medical center due to mental health issues; the other witness is registered at Goris medical center on the ground of alcohol dependence. The motion submitted by Andreas Ghukasyan and his lawyer to collect other evidence backing up the testimony of the witnesses has been rejected by the preliminary investigation body.
These facts provide a ground to assert that the criminal prosecution against Andreas Ghukasyan and his continued detention are carried out on political motives.
Armenian National Platform of the EaP Civil Society Forum demands to stop political persecution against Andreas Ghukasyan and release him.
On September 11, 2017 on the initiative of EaP CSF ANP Working Group 1 “Democracy, Human Rights, Good Governance and Stability” CSF Armenian National Platform Assembly was held in Yerevan. The event was devoted to the civil society engagement in the administrative-territorial reforms in Armenia.
At the beginning Boris Navasardian, EaP CSF Armenian Country Facilitator made an opening remark, and H.E. Mr. Piotr Antoni Świtalski, Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia delivered a welcoming remark. Afterwards, the main speakers delivered their speeches.
First Deputy Minister of RA Territorial Administration and Development Vache Terteryan’s speech was devoted to the course and perspectives of administrative-territorial reforms in Armenia. Vahan Movsisyan, Chairman of Communities Finance Officers Association spoke on the process of enlargement in Armenia and the importance of transparency and ensurance of civic engagement in decision-making in that process. Arthur Drampian, Local Self-Governance Expert at USAID Office of Sustainable Development, in his speech focused on the projects of USAID in the sphere of the RA local self-governance. In her presentation entitled “Communities Enlargement: New Role and Commitment for CSOs” Ruzan Ghazaryan, President of “Work and Motherland” NGO, shared with the attendees the experience of Vayk. The presentations were followed by question and answer session and a lively discussion.
EaP CSF Armenian National Platform Members’ Meeting with Ijevan Civil Society Representatives
On September 8, 2017 the members of EaP CSF Armenian National Platform met with representatives of Ijevan civil society. The meeting was held at Ijevan Infotun. Boris Navasardian, EaP CSF Armenian Country Facilitator and Heriknaz Harutyunyan, Executive Director of ANP Secretariat presented to the representatives of local NGOs and active citizens the history of foundation of Armenian National Platform, main spheres of ANP activities and the procedure of ANP membership.
Afterwards, Vahan Movsisyan, Chairman of Communities Finance Officers Association spoke on the role and importance of civic engagement in local self-governance. The speeches were followed by an active discussion.