On 1 October Civil Society Institute NGO reported to the Chief of Armenian Police and the Prosecutor on the events which had taken place several days before at Gold Market in M. Khorenatsi Street. It was claimed in the report to properly assess Head of the Market Vagharsh Abrahamyan’s actions and take measures within the jurisdiction including the institution of the criminal case.
The whole report is presented below.
On 25 September of this year “Zhoghovurd” newspaper uploaded a video where Vagharsh Abrahamyan, Head of the Gold Market in M. Khorenatsi Street, could be seen walking in the market’s hall and ordering his assistants to “throw out” the counters in front of which there were no merchants at that moment.
At the end of the same video in a short interview given to the journalist he did not deny the fact that his actions were related the market’s employees’ participation in the protest against the amendments to the RA Law on Turnover Tax. The merchants were supposed to be participating in the protest in front of the Government Building.
Vagharsh Abrahamyan confirms the information where it is mentioned that he has told his employees not to participate in the protest, he strongly believes in the rightness of his action and declares that “measures are being taken” to return the people from the Government Building. In case of not coming back he is threatening “to pass their merchandise spots” to other people.
The details can be seen in the 3:33-4:40 minutes of the video material (available only in Armenian)
In another interview to the journalists the Head of the Gold Market again threatens the merchants participating in the protest. “The ones who do not respect this law will be fired. Let them find jobs in other places or become unqualified, low paid workers. It’s enough! They have been living leading a rich man’s life till today…” he says.
The details can be seen in the 0:55-1:05 minutes of the video material –
Article 27 of the Constitution of RA states that: “Everyone shall have the right to freely express his/her opinion. No one shall be forced to recede or change his/her opinion.”
Article 6 of the Law on “Freedom of Assembly” states that “Everyone has the right to participate in assemblies.”
According to Paragraph 2 of the same article, “No one has the right to force a person to participate in any assembly or hinder the participation of the latter in any assembly”.
“Civil Society Institute” NGO characterizes this incident as a flagrant violation of fundamental human rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
Article 163 of Criminal Code of RA (RACC) states that “Hindrance to holding rallies is punished with a fine in the amount of 100 to 300 minimal salaries, or with arrest for the term of up to 3months, or with imprisonment for the term of up to 1year.” Article 143 of CC RA extends responsibility for a direct or indirect breach of the human rights and freedoms of the citizen and the person for their political or other views, social origin, property or other reasons, which has damaged the citizen’s rights and legal interests. We think that in this case there is also the element of discrimination of freedom of opinion.
Despite the publications and the uproar raised by mass media the Armenian police have not initiated the criminal case since 25 September. They have reported to “Liberty” radio station of not receiving any crime report.
So, CSI applies to the Law Enforcement body to properly assess the above-mentioned action and take necessary measures within the jurisdiction including the institution of criminal proceedings.