YEREVAN— On June 28, five arrested members of “Sasna Tsrer” claimed to have been brutally beaten by police after the latest court hearing in their ongoing trial, reported RFE/RL’s Armenian service.
During the hearing, the presiding judge told law enforcement to remove Areg Kyureghyan, Mkhitar Avetisyan, and Smbat Parseghyan from the courtroom. After the hearing was cut short, the three, as well as Arayik Khandoyan and Gagik Yeghiazaryan, told their lawyers that they were beaten in the court building’s basement before being transported to their cells.
On June 29, the lawyers submitted a written “crime report” to the Office of the Prosecutor-General, demanding the immediate launch of an investigation. Khandoyan’s lawyer, Arayik Papikyan told reporters outside the prison, that Khandoyan was subjected to violence and tortured “in the most brutal way.” He claimed that his client was beaten by the policemen after protesting the ill-treatment of Kyureghyan and Avetisyan.
Papikian and other lawyers added that the Nubarashen prison administration inspected the men and documented the injuries suffered. They then demanded a copy of the corresponding medical report.
Representatives from the office of Armenia’s Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) Armen Tatoyan visited Khandoyan, Avetisyan, and Yeghiazaryan on June 29 and confirmed their injures. In a written statement, the office demanded an immediate investigation.
Currently, neither prosecutors or the Justice Ministry division managing Armenia’s prisons clarified whether the torture allegations are being formally investigated. The Armenian Police said that they are not in a position to investigate such incidents.