Statement: Police violated the right to freedom of peaceful assemblies of dozens of protesters.
27 July 2016, Yerevan. On 27 July the Armenian police grossly violated and continue to violate the right to liberty and security of dozens of people. Over hundred persons were apprehended from the streets in Yerevan, police failed to notify them of any legal ground for deprivation of liberty. A significant part of them were transferred and arbitrary detained for prolonged periods at the premises of the regiment of police forces at Isakov street in Yerevan. Apart from detaining people at unauthorized locations, police hinder access of lawyers to detainees to ensure provision of legal aid. Whereabouts of some of the de facto detainees remain unknown to their family members.
Police also violated the right to freedom of peaceful assemblies of dozens of protestors by disproportionately intervening into exercise of this fundamental right.
Around 3 am on July 27 a human rights defender Levon Barseghyan was summoned to police station and had been de facto detained for over 15 hours. Only around 7 pm he was officially arrested under a made-up charge of possession of weapon /a penknife/. While in police custody during de facto detention police hindered his access to the legal counsel of his choosing.
Civil Society Institute (CSI) condemns in the strongest possible terms unlawful practice of the Armenian police and demand to:
- Immediately release Levon Barseghyan and stop persecution under made-up charges,
- Immediately stop practice of arbitrary arrests and unlawful detention coupled with unlawful use of force,
- Immediately release all those arbitrarily detained on 27 July;
- Not hinder in any way the effective exercise of the right to a peaceful assembly,
- Conduct investigation into above mentioned violations committed by law-enforcement agents, promptly bring to justice those accountable as well as ensure compensation of victims whose rights were infringed as a result of the unlawful conduct of the police.
CSI strongly condemned police misconduct and unlawful practice in its previous statement issued on 18 July 2016.