In Sisian, the passions are inflamed, a riot is brewing against the acting head of the police, Garik Muradyan, which has become a real scourge on the city.

On April 6 and 7, two extraordinary incidents took place with his participation: 60-year-old Grandpa Garnik was abused at the police station after he was taken there at three in the morning. After spending the whole night in the police station, Garnik M. was taken to Sisian hospital, where he was given medical aid. These days, he refuses to talk to reporters, but told his lawyer, Lusine Zeynalyan, that the person who beat him was Garik Muradyan, the acting head of the Sisian Police Department. In this way, he tried to force Grandpa Garnik to take on a theft case.

On April 7, police used violence against Martin Saryan, a member of the Sisian Council of Elders, and his father and cousin, Armen Harutyunyan, in front of the same Sisian police station. The latter were taken to hospital with injuries.

They are the relatives of Father Nerses Harutyunyan from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

The priest told the media that the brothers were outside together, two policemen approached them, demanded a “paper of movement” [a form required by COVID-19 state of emergency measures], which they showed to them, but five minutes later they approached the Harutyunyans again, demanded the same paper, after which an argument broke out.

According to the Investigative Committee, the victims are policemen. The Harutyunyans did not provide identification documents to the police officers and the “paper of movement”. They were called to the department. A criminal case has been filed on charges of hooliganism and violence against a government official.

Lawyer Lusine Zeynalyan, who is a lawyer involved in this case, describes the opposite picture. “When the police chief came to the point of sale and insulted Martin Harutyunyan and his father with blasphemy of sexual nature, his cousin got involved. One of the police officers grasped Martin Harutyunyan’s phone from his hands,” the lawyer said.

Acting Police Chief Garik Muradyan, his deputy Vardan Mkrtchyan, and Petik Aleksanyan, the head of the penitentiary, forced brothers to the police car and took them to the station.

“We have witnesses who saw these people punching brothers in the heads and forcing them in the car to take them away. Then they [the policemen] saw that they were taking pictures on the phone. Seeing this, the deputy commander instructed his staff to influence the witnesses, to meet with the witnesses. They threatened the witnesses, but did not succeed to keep them silent or to destroy the video footage. Witnesses are going to report against the Acting Chief of Police,” tells Lusine Zeynalyan.

According to the lawyer, when the boys were taken to the police station, many citizens have been gathered there. “People were outraged that they were treating the clergyman’s family in such a way and spontaneously gathered and went to the police station to support him,” said Lusine Zeynalyan.

Police are trying to clear the tracks. They call the witnesses and persuade them to give them the video footage.

“We are going to submit a petition to the Prosecutor General’s Office, to temporarily suspend the duties of the acting Chief of Police Garik Muradyan, his deputy Vardan Mkrtchyan, the head of the penitentiary Petik Aleksanyan, until a preliminary investigation is carried out,” the lawyer said.

Garnik M., who was beaten by the police chief, refuses to talk to reporters these days. He said through his lawyer that he would speak, but not now. He is depressed and unhealthy. We could not get in touch with Garik Muradyan. His cellphone was turned off.

The police did not provide details to; they only noted that an official investigation is underway into possible incidents of violence. The Special Investigation Service has not yet received the materials.

Syuzan Simonyan

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