“The courts have no desire to reveal torture cases”

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Արմեն Աղաջանյան Լուսանկարը՝ hetq.am—ի

“This is another case when they try to cover up the torture case by hiding it under a wrong application of the law,” said lawyer Ara Gharagyozyan during a press conference, referring to the Nubarashen penitentiary where Armen Aghajanyan was tortured two years ago and “found dead” in the National Center for Mental Health.

The aggrieved party continues to voice: no effective investigation has been carried out during the whole process, no one is accused, and one of the employees who tortured Armen Aghajanyan in penitentiary was released from the courtroom last year. Aghajanyan’s legal successor is already submitting the second complaint to the court, but the Prosecutor’s Office again makes a decision to suspend the case.

“There is an impression that the courts do not want to reveal the cases of torture, while it is very important to consider the issue from the point of view of the examination of those cases. “A person with a disability was devoured by four people, describing it as an abuse of official authority,” the lawyer expresses his indignation.

According to Armen’s mother, Gayane Aghajanyan, the case is not moving forward, because many facts are being hidden. She remembers caressing the face of his dead son when she noticed that it was concealed under a lot of makeup․

“During this contact, the make-up worn out and letters appeared under the make up: an “A” was showed, and then other letters that were no longer readable. Opening the top button of his shirt, I saw fresh wounds on my son’s neck that should not have been there. There were bruises on different parts of the body. The neck of a hanged person is bruised, not cut,” the mourning mother states with pain.

She is convinced that, as a result of the negligence or deliberate steps of the investigative bodies, the most important witness in the case has left Armenia.

“That man was the last person who talked to my son, but the investigative bodies did not consider him a witness and let him to leave the border. It was he who told that when he talked to Armen, he

heard voices from the side, after which the phone was cut off. Shortly afterwards, my son was allegedly found hanged in the bathroom.”

Nina Karapetyants, President of the Helsinki Association NGO, emphasizes that while the perpetrator of torture may be limited to this one case, all those who cover up these cases are committing a much more serious crime:

“We are tired of repeating that the bodies carrying out justice have a much worse ideology than the criminal elements. This impunity leads to new, more serious, impudent crimes. And the ‘velvet’ that exists today [means the authorities that came to power through Velvet Revolution] is not appropriate at all. Mr. Pashinyan must understand that his velvet, the velvet of the ruling party, of the executive, the legislature, the responsibility for every next dead person will be on their conscience. Aghajanyan’s parent has done more work all alone than the law enforcement officers,” says the human rights activist.

It should be noted that, since 2015, Armenia has already adopted an article on criminalizing torture, but in all these years the court has not recognized a single fact of torture. The ECHR has stated in cases of different years that it is not the victim who must prove that he has been subjected to torture, but the state.

It should be reminded that Aghajanyan has been wanted for months “in connection with the purchase and sale of a car.” In March 2017, he was arrested, transferred to Nubarashen penitentiary, where, ignoring Armen’s poor health, he was beaten and abused ignoring the fact of an open intestine on the lateral part of his body. Months later, Armen Aghajanyan was transferred to the National Center for Mental Health, where 5 days later he was found hanging from a sheet.

Roza Vardanyan