Oct 1 2012

Yerevan/Mediamax/. Members of Civilitas Foundation Honorary Board Serzh
Tankian and Atom Egoyan made statements on Vardan Oskanian's case.

"The persecution of Vartan Oskanian, former foreign minister
of Armenia, is clearly politically motivated. The funds from Jon
Huntsman Sr were donated to Civilitas via Oskanian in early 2011. Yet
the proceedings against Mr. Oskanian were brought on only after he
re-entered politics in Armenia this year. Civilitas, the non-profit
organization started by Mr. Oskanian, has done amazing work in Armenia,
as well as diplomatically abroad, for Armenia. It is extremely
important for a developing democracy to shun the monopolization of
media, industries, and political offices. It is also very important for
Armenian citizens to be able to express their choices and grievances by
voting in free and fair elections, monitored by reputable international
polling organizations. For centuries we have been controlled by one
foreign entity or another. Although we have allegiances, allies, and
the need for aid as a nation, our democracy and economy should not
be victimized by influences from the West (U.S. mainly), nor Russia.

We must collectively rise out of this short sighted Soviet-era need to
control industries and politics to allow our countrymen the freedom
of expression earned over centuries of struggle", Serzh Tankian's
message reads.

"I have known Vartan Oskanian for many years, and believe that he is a
brilliant statesman, committed to Armenia's prosperity and well-being.

He is a truly international presence, capable of creating important
bonds and bringing cherished ideas of democratic reform and free
media to a country that is still recovering from over seventy years
of Soviet-era control.

With this in mind, I immediately accepted Mr. Oskanian's invitation
to lend my name to the formation of Civilitas. I have watched as this
vital organization has helped shape the course of open discussion
and debate within a country I cherish and so proud of. This is why
I am so shocked and upset by the current charges that have been
brought against Mr. Oskanian. The persecution of Vartan Oskanian
is a deplorable and politically motivated action which is extremely
dangerous to the health of the country. I urge the Prosecutor General
of Armenia to seriously consider the consequences of removing Vartan
Oskanian's immunity and to charge him with this trumped-up charge.

This action is being watched with great concern by anyone who is
concerned with freedom of expression in a truly democratic and modern
country", Atom Egoyan's message reads.