On July 27th, around 3:30 AM, the Shengavit Police Department arrested one of the active participants of the mass rally taking place on Khorenatsi street in Yerevan, Levon Barseghyan who is the chairman of the “Asparez” Journalists’ Club, Gyumri .
Subsequently a criminal case was filed against him for allegedly carrying a lethal weapon and Barseghyan was subjected to a forensic examination.
Barseghyan’s whereabouts were unknown to his family and colleagues for a substantial period of time. Despite the fact that the police department reported that Barseghyan had been released at 6:30 AM, in reality the report was a hoax. Barseghyan was in police custody, he was transferred to the Gyumri Kumayri department and again transferred back to the Shengavit Investigation Department. It was only after human rights defenders spent more than half the day demanding information that his whereabouts were discovered.
Being in possession of a folding knife he personally discovered in his pant’s pocket was the basis of his arrest. According to his defender, said knife was discovered in Barseghyan’s possession in other similar instances when law enforcement officials attempted to detain him during rallies, however each time the presence of the knife was recorded and ignored because its dimensions did not constitute a lethal weapon.
We, signatories, are convinced that the criminal charge against our colleague was fabricated; that possession of a lethal weapon was simply used as a reason to arrest and “punish” Levon Barseghyan for his active participation in political protests, his participation in the rallies on Khorenatsi street, and more specifically his role in leading the latest rally on Khorenaci street. Meaning that, our colleague was a targeted victim of the arbitrary actions of law enforcement officers for his personal political standpoint.
Considering the above stated information we demand that,
- Law enforcement agencies drop the criminal charge filed against Levon Barseghyan and release him from police custody
- The ruling political elite end the violence against demonstrators and active citizens, and return the actions of law enforcement agencies to their legal framework
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE – ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
“JOURNALISTS FOR THE FUTURE” NGO
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” NGO
GORIS PRESS CLUB
OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS
HELSINKI COMMITTEE OF ARMENIA
HELSINKI CITIZENS’ ASSEMBLY VANADZOR OFFICE
“PUBLIC AGENDA” NGO
PARTNERSHIP FOR OPEN SOCIETY
TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL ANTICORRUPTION CENTER
INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS NGO
REGION RESEARCH CENTER