The yard of the Court of General Jurisdiction of Avan-Nor Nork administrative districts of Yerevan was crowded today. The court was examining the issue of detaining Armen Charchyan, a well-known doctor, director of Izmirlian Medical Center, the 20th member on the “Hayastan” bloc’s Parliamentary elections list. Applauses were heard from time to time. Those who applauded were those who came to encourage the professor.

The professor was commenting on a widely known recording in front of journalists and cameras, on the basis of which he was accused of obstructing the exercise of his employees’ free will. This article foresees 4 to 7 years imprisonment. He did not understand his accusation. He does not accept his fault. He has refused to testify.

It should be reminded that in the recording, which was widely spread on the Internet, Charchyan invited the employees of “Izmirlian” Medical Center to a meeting, “urging, asking, demanding” them to go to the polls, then indirectly pushng them to vote for the Armenia bloc. He is also intimidating doctors, making it clear that he will know who voted for whom, who participated to the elections and who did not.

The well-known professor even warns his subordinates who keep a stone silence during his speech that the heads of the departments will call them on the day of the elections and check whether they have gone to the polls or not. “We have the addresses and names of all of you; I will see who went to the polls and who did not,” says the famous doctor. He reminds the staff that the hospital belongs to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, and the Mother See’s position is that the current government should not be voted for.

“There are very serious statistical mechanisms to find out approximately in percentage who made what choice,” says Charchyan.

To those who do not comply with his urge, request, persuasion, the employer promises harsh treatment. “If someone does not comply with the director’s urge, request, persuasion, the management will treat him much harsher. There is such an expression – an adequate response. The response will not be adequate; it will be very inadequate. You decide the fate of my generations, as I am deciding your generations, “the famous doctor almost threatens.

While listening to the recording, it is impossible not to remember another recording. Before the 2017 elections, a recording was released from a meeting held in favor of the SAS owner Artak nicknamed SAS’s Artak. In the recording, a man threatens and mocks those present and urges them to work in favor of SAS owner Artak Sargsyan. The content of the speech is almost the same as during Charchyan’s meeting.

“If you treat us like that, we will treat you five times worse. Hovhannes Hovhannisyan, where is he? Huh, huh, didn’t you bring him? Hovo is not with us, so he is against us, be aware of it. Bringing cucumbers, cabbage, is not enough, brother, you have to provide votes too, don’t you?” was saying the man.

At that time, the Prosecutor General was Arthur Davtyan, and the investigative body was the SIS, which after a short investigation terminated the criminal case initiated on the base of recording, “on the grounds of lack of guilt.”

In the courtyard of the court today, Professor Charchyan was trying to justify himself:

“I am charged with an accusation which is absolutely incomprehensible to me, which does not contain any corpus delicti and I am deeply convinced that the accusation is of a purely political nature. I am sure that the court will make the right decision,” Charchyan said.

According to him, the compulsion and demand are different things. He can demand that his employees go to the polls, but that does not mean compulsion. “Oh, if I force you to do it by certain means after asking and urging you, then it is coercion, compulsion,” says the professor in the tone of a man with whom everyone always agrees, who is not used to objections.

“You say in the recording that you can check later,” the Azatutyun journalist asked. “I say, by statistical methods, approximately: they are completely different things; the crime that incriminates me has nothing to do with it,” Charchyan does not bounce. To the journalist’s question, “But you say that if they do not go to the polls, there will be a harsh attitude”, the professor almost gives a confession, not so much in terms of criminal, but in terms of moral code.

“If anyone applied to me, asked for an examination, surgery, or the most complicated operations, they did not have the money for that, from the most insecure midwife to the heads of the departments, the deputy director — I respected everyone’s request and I have done it all for free, at the hospital’s expense. And, if they do not respect my request, my exhortation, next time, if someone comes and asks me for something, I will not respect their request, I will not fulfill that request, acting within the law, strictly within the law, in the domain of the rule of the law.”

It was a pity the doctor.

Syuzan Simonyan

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