Letter to Europe's three presidents. Mass illegal imprisonments and human rights violations in Armenia

  • Law - 16 August 2016, 18:01
Many representatives of civil society, citizens, civil initiatives such as “Freedom to political prisoners”, “Daredevils of Sassoun”, and “Davit Sanasaryan”, etc., who raised a wave of public protests against mass illegal imprisonments and human rights violations in Armenia, today, on 16th August, 2016, addressed a letter to the  President of the European Commission Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Council Mr. Donald Tusk,  European Parliament President Mr. Martin Schulz.

Dear Messrs. Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk, Martin Schulz,

Many representatives of civil society, citizens, civil initiatives of Armenia raised a wave of public protests against mass illegal imprisonments and human rights violations in Armenia.

On 8th August, 2016, we addressed a letter to the President and Secretary General of the EPP (European People’s Party) Mr. Joseph Daul.

We are voicing our concerns about the unlawful detention of peaceful demonstrators who were arrested during the protests in Armenia on July 29, 2016. We are specifically concerned about the arrest, beatings and detention of the following individuals:

Mr. Hovsep Khurshudyan, "Heritage" Political Party, PR; 
Mr. Davit Sanasaryan, "Heritage" Political Party, Spokesperson; 
Mr. Armen Martirosyan, "Heritage" Political Party, Vice President. 
Mr. Andrias Ghukasyan, "Rise up, Armenia", Founder, former 2013 Presidential Candidate of Armenia;
Mr. Davit Hovhannisyan, "Rise up, Armenia", Member

In our letter we also urged EPP to use all its leverages and apply all possible sanctions, including but not restricted to officially exclude criminal ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) from EPP’s membership, and demand RPA to immediately stop its orchestrated violations.

Please note that "Heritage" Political Party respectively have been EPP observer member since 2012, senior members of which are currently politically persecuted by Armenian authorities.

Time has repeatedly proven that "Heritage" political party has always been part of both public and important political events protecting people's fair demands and rights, and therefore now the party is subjected to unreasonable and illegal persecutions and violence.

Instead of respecting the rights of these peaceful protesters to assemble and demonstrate, these 5 individuals were brutally beaten, detained, imprisoned, and are being held for 2 months in prison to investigate charges which may lead to their incarceration for 4 to 10 years.

We specifically highlighted the case of these public figures who were relentlessly working to maintain peace between the protesters and the absolutely aggressive police officers who were documented to have used brutality against peaceful protesters. Many civilian injuries were sustained. It has come to our attention that undercover police, feigning as protesters, were used to provoke the crowd into breaking through the police barricade, throwing stones on both sides. The individuals above were only trying to hold back the protesters and demanded that the protesters not engage in any violent behavior.

The arrests of these active political people are illegal. The current dictatorial regime in Armenia is trying to liquidate the brightest representatives of the Armenia's opposition. Especially, before the elections such disproportionate actions by Armenian Government would definitely lead to disbalance in political arena of Armenia.

Mr. Davit Sanasaryan and Mr. Armen Martirosyan are Yerevan City Council members and they are deprived of many of their public responsibilities. Mr. Hosvep Khirshudyan is a member of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum.

We are well aware that Mr. Andrias Ghukasyan, a former Presidential candidate, has declared a hunger strike since July 30, 2016, he is now on his 17th day. We are also aware that he sustained serious injuries to his legs due to the police beatings. There has been no further information about his health. 
Mr. Sanasaryan is also in need of medical care and we have now learned that after 10 long days of delay, a matter we find unacceptable, he was finally under medical review. We understand Mr. Davit Sanasaryan continues to have sharp headaches, signs of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), following the brutal beatings he sustained by the Red Berets. His case was sent to five international human rights organisations last week.

PLEASE NOTE that the mass outbreaks of the Police violence and mass arrests started to carry even more brutal and inhuman character immediately after one of the opponents: Mr Varuzhan Avetisyan's call to launch a National struggle against Russian colonialism in our country and due to this to start A National Liberation Struggle.

All Armenians in the diaspora continue to closely watch the unfolding of these events and are deeply disturbed at the mishandling of this situation by all government officials. We urge you to take actions and not walk away from the people of Armenia.

Mass repressions against active citizens and their family members continue up to this day. Armenia is in deep crisis of democracy and all human rights and values are ignored and violated.

This is a human rights violation of gargantuan proportions by Armenian government and must be addressed by the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and all other Human Rights organizations of the world. The European Union institutions should demand their immediate and unconditional release.

We know that you spoke out against human rights violations so we are hopeful you will put pressure about this as well by taking all necessary measures.

We thank you for your efforts in this matter and hope that the individuals mentioned in this letter will receive the due process that they are entitled to.

We await your immediate actions. Armenians all over the world are waiting for your efforts.