Early in the morning on 23 June, 2015 police dispersed a peaceful assembly against hike of the electricity fare organized in front of the President’s Palace at Baghramyan street in Yerevan. As a result more than 230 protestors were summoned to police stations.
The process of dispersing the peaceful assembly, arrest of protestors and its aftermath was coupled with a number of serious human rights violations. The protestors have been de facto deprived of liberty more than 3 hours prescribed by law without any procedural status. The majority of the protestors in police stations do not have a possibility to benefit from legal counseling of their choosing because of obstacles created by police. Moreover, those protestors who were eventually granted with a status of a witness are not released after interrogation; they have been de facto deprived of liberty in police stations for hours under the excuse of the need to subject them to alcohol and drug tests. The whereabouts of some of the protestors remain unknown to their family members. On top of that, police hindered activities of media and used force against journalists covering the events.
"Police yet have to prove that the intervention into the enjoyment of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly was proportionate and necessary",- says Artak Kirakosyan, the Deputy Secretary general of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Chairperson of the Civil Society Institute NGO. "At the moment it is clear that deprivation of liberty of the participants of the assembly is ungrounded and in violation of the law with the purpose to put pressure and intimidate the protestors".
CSI demands from the Armenian authorities to:
• Release without delay all participants to peaceful assembly who are deprived of liberty in police,
• Ensure impartial and transparent inquiry into the police conduct.
Civil Society Institute NGO
For Armenian version visit: http://hra.am/hy/position/2015/06/23/electricity