PRESS RELEASE
The Heritage Party
Yerevan, Armenia
Tel.: (+374 - 10) 27.00.03, 27.16.00 (temporary)
Fax: (+374 - 10) 52.48.46 (temporary)
Email: [email protected]; [email protected]
Website: www.heritage.am


August 31, 2006


Justice Denied In Three Acts: Heritage Headquarters Break-In Confirmed, But
Criminal Case Refused


Yerevan--On August 29, 2006, the Heritage Party received official
notification from Colonel Hovik Tamamyan of Yerevan's Central Police
Department that laboratory examinations confirmed that unknown persons broke
into Heritage's office and attached a "flash" copying mechanism and external
monitor to its computer system on the night of March 8, four days after the
Paronian Theater's management had illegally locked Raffi Hovannisian and his
colleagues out of their place of work. This finding notwithstanding, the
police department concluded on August 24 that no criminal charges would be
brought on the premise, clearly contrived, that there was no positive
evidence, only assumptions, that any information was actually taken from the
computer system and thus that any illegality had occurred. In an amazing
display of Armenia's "presidential justice," the police apparently carried
out their "instruction from above" to close down the case without
questioning the management of the theater or any other possible suspects, in
places high and low, of the criminal break-in.

This telling decision was issued in response to Raffi Hovannisian's May 29
affidavit testifying that on March 8, exactly four days after Heritage party
headquarters had been forcibly shut down without a legal warrant and further
access to it had been blocked, one or more people had gained entry into the
office's main computer, where all information regarding the party, its
membership, and its activities is maintained. In the words of Heritage
attorney Zaruhi Postanjian: "After having examined the computer, experts
from the National Bureau of Investigation affirmed that on that night, when
the office was deemed vacant by a later court ruling, the computer was put
in operational mode for 22-24 minutes and, what is more, was hooked up to a
monitor. The results of the investigation demanded, therefore, that a
criminal case be launched. In a flagrant disregard of law and justice,
however, the police department refused to authorize such a probe, making
dubious references to 'corpus delicti.' We will appeal this sham
determination to the courts of law and public opinion."

On August 24, the same day as the police department's cover-up of justice,
Judge Narine Barseghyan of Yerevan's Davtashen-Ajapniak Court of First
Instance heard Raffi Hovannisian's complaint against the marshals of the
Service for Mandatory Execution of Judicial Acts (SMEJA). Hovannisian had
disputed their unlawful sealing of the Heritage office on May 30, only one
day after it reopened pursuant to the injunction issued in the underlying
case by Judge Edward Avetisyan. The SMEJA officers had forced Hovannisian
and the office staff to leave the premises.

Reflecting on the illegal actions taken by the marshals, Judge Barseghyan
seemed to pose a series of irrelevant questions with the intent to divert
the proceedings from the subject matter of the complaint. In response to the
judge's query into Raffi Hovannisian's current entitlement to the space,
Zaruhi Postanjian noted: "This matter is subject to clarification and is
currently being considered by the Court of Appeals. As for today's petition,
submitted by us to your jurisdiction, we are seeking a legal assessment of
the activities carried out by SMEJA officials."

Even though the hearing had resonated with the public at large and the
courtroom was at full capacity, representatives of neither SMEJA nor the
Paronian Theater were present. In all probability, they had advance
confidence that they would not be brought to justice. Despite the absence of
the defendants, Judge Barseghyan went forward with the trial and, in
predictable conformity with the tide of Armenian "jurisprudence," denied
Hovannisian's petition.

And finally on the next day, August 25, the Court of Appeals, composed of
Judges Artashes Tumanyan, Karine Hakobyan, and Astghik Kharatyan, rejected
Raffi Hovannisian's demand for clarification of the judgment issued on June
26 by Judge Avetisian of the Central and Nork-Marash Court. According to
that judgment, the forcible closure of Heritage's office was deemed illegal.
Separately, Hovannisian was instructed to pay certain rental installments
for a period when he was not actually making use of the premises. Hence, the
Court in effect validated the five-year real-estate lease entered into in
2002, but was silent on whether Hovannisian still could use the leased space
until 2007.

Once again, nothing out of the ordinary took place. Abusing its prerogative
to execute justice, the appeals panel carried out "in the name of the
Republic of Armenia," yet another special directive coming from the
"presidential above." And once again Raffi Hovannisian's request, this time
for a simple clarification, was rejected. "We have become permanent
eyewitnesses to the successive stagings of 'justice' and the finale of the
show is nothing more than an 'old song,' but we will appeal all the way up,"
commented Heritage board chairman Vardan Khachatrian.

Founded in 2002, Heritage has regional divisions throughout the land. Its
central headquarters are located at 7 Vazgen Sargsian Street, Yerevan 0010,
Armenia, with telephone contact at (374-10) 27.00.03, 27.16.00 (temporary),
fax at (374-10) 52.48.46 (temporary), email at [email protected], and website
at www.heritage.am.