HAK activists hand letter to OSCE Yerevan Office

07:45 pm | June 25, 2010 | Social

Young activists of the Armenian National Congress (HAK) today marched
to the OSCE Yerevan Office chanting, "We are with you, David!"

They handed a letter to the OSCE Yerevan office requesting to urge
Armenian authorities to free David Qiramjyan arrested by plain-clothed
policemen on May 31 after stepping the recently renovated Freedom

"The protesters are determined in their demands and they call for an
immediate release of Qiramjyan," David's brother Hovhannes Qiramjyan
said. The latter says the country has appeared in such a state that
people needn't get astonished by illegitimacy.

Remind that today the criminal case of David Qiramjyan and Sargis
Gevorgyan has been sent to the Court of First Instance of Kentron and
Nork-Marash Administrative Districts for the detailed investigation.

Qiramjyan is charged according to the Article 258 of the RA Criminal
Code (hooliganism) and Gevorgyan under Article 316 (violence against a
government representative).

Below is the letter of the Armenian National Congress addressed to the
OSCE Yerevan Office.

"H.E. Mr. Kanat Saudabayev,

The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office,
Kazakhstan's Secretary of State and Foreign Minister


Since 2003, when the OSCE Office in Yerevan and the Armenian police
signed their first memorandum of understanding, the Office has
initiated the implementation of a number of projects focusing on the
introduction of democratic policing practices. The Armenian Media has
been broadly covering the involvement of the OSCE in the process of
the reformation of the Police.

Just to make a comparison - in 2004 our neighboring Georgia also
started similar programme. As a result of deep structural reforms
today almost 80 % of the population of Georgia trusts the Police. Now
the Ministry of Interior of Georgia became one of the most credible
and efficient structures in the country. Citizens of Armenia,
notwithstanding TV blockade on any positive information on Georgia,
are also aware that with the assistance of international structures,
the political leadership of Georgia successfully implemented the task
of the fighting the Police corruption and making its work visible and
transparent to everybody.

Coming to Armenia we also see statements, mainly by the OSCE, on the
success of the reforms in Police. However what we see on the ground is
that 5 years after the cooperation with the OSCE Yerevan Office,
during March 1, 2008 events, the Police shot to death 10 peaceful
demonstrators and bullet-wounded about 200 persons. Then the Police
arrested more than 150 opposition supporters and intimidated
thousands. We do not state, that it happened due to failings of the
international organizations, since we know the capacity of cooperation
and the depth of the involvement of the international community in the
reforms. But we strongly regret that no statement, calling or stating
that Armenian Police must behave as an institution should in
democratic country, has been made by the organization leading that
process - the OSCE. There was no condemnation or even a reaction of
the OSCE Yerevan Office on the bloody crackdown on opposition, no
comments on the persecutions of oppositional figures months and years
followed the March 1 deadly events.

Now the OSCE supports another Police Reform programme, which covers 11
areas. How credible could be the programme when the OSCE Yerevan
Office did not react to the vandal behavior of the Police on May 28,
29, 30 and 31, June 1, 2010? On these days the Armenian Police
violated the right to freedom of movement by not letting to enter the
Freedom Square (Azatutyan hraparak). During the mentioned 5 days,
about 30 Armenian citizens were apprehended by the police without any
legal substantiation. David Qiramijyan, a nineteen-year-old student,
who studies at the Institute of Cinema and Theatre, is among them.
Probably feeling the backing of one of the most prominent
international organizations, the Police charged three persons with
serious indictments. The reporter of Armenian Times daily Ms. Ani
Gevorgian is among that three.

Mr. David Qiramijyan, who was arrested on May 31, just wanted to enter
the Freedom Square with some young members of the opposition. David
was arrested by people who were not dressed in police uniforms. Then
during the transportation to the Police station he was beaten by
police officers and his leg, which had already undergone a surgical
operation, was injured yet again and, in addition, he is currently
suffering also from constant headaches. He has not been provided with
any medical care until today, in spite of the results of his medical
examination available to the police, in which it is clearly stated
that David needs medical care and in the absence of appropriate
medical interventions he risks losing the ability to move.

On June 3, David Qiramijyan was charged with hooliganism and was
sanctioned to 2 months detention as a detention measure. According to
the Armenian Legislation and various international agreements the
decision of the court is illegal.

The leadership of the Armenian National Congress has provided to the
OSCE Yerevan Office the video materials of the attack of the Police,
so the brutality of the actions of the police is obvious. We believed
that after that there would be relevant reaction, pressure on the
Police to release Mr. David Qiramijyan. However there was no reaction
by the OSCE Yerevan Office, which allowed authorities to continue
keeping the young activist in prison.

Dear Minister,

We would like to ask you to urge the Armenian authorities to free
David Qiramjyan immediately, since he has not committed any crime. He
only used his right of free movement and we would like to ask you to
urge the authorities to identify the real instigators. We also are
requesting you to execute your authority to make the OSCE Yerevan
Office's efforts in the reformation of Armenian Police more


From: A. Papazian