Another sensational incident took place with the participation of police officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. With the intention of looking for drugs, they broke into the Ban club operating on Baghramyan Avenue in Yerevan, where they subjected the citizens to violence, cursed and uttered expressions insulting the dignity of a person.
Forrights.am was informed about this incident by one of the visitors of the club, who is afraid of the violent actions of the police officers and avoids revealing his identity.
He informed Forrights.am that the police used violence on the night of June 23-24.
“One of the neighbors complained that the music was disturbing. At first, two patrols came and we, together with the patrols, went to that building. They heard with their own ears that the sound was not reaching the building. We explained to the patrols that there is a permission provided by the municipality to play music at night. And, they left. After 20 minutes, that same citizen calls the police again, the patrols come, and that citizen says completely baselessly that he smells drugs. The patrols go inside, then report that they found I don’t know what, and start calling the brigades. They tell us all to go inside and they don’t allow us to leave the club for about 3 hours,” said the citizen who alerted Forrights.am.
According to our interlocutor, there were 35-36 people in the club, some of whom participated in the party organized on the occasion of the marriage of one of their friends. After the arrival of a large number of police officers, the beatings, cursings of sexual character and expressions insulting the dignity of those present began.
“They insulted the people, twisted their hands and arrested them. The police did not pay attention to the people who claimed that they had no right to do such an act against them because they had no grounds. There were representatives of the LGBT community, who were insulted, cursed and attacked their identity,” said our interlocutor.
According to the witness, after the arrival of the police and being locked in the club for about three hours, the attendees were taken to the Arabkir police department.
The citizens who alerted Forrights.am state that illegal actions by police officers continued there as well.
“One of those arrested in the district told the police that they behave like enemies, because their task is to protect citizens, not to beat them. They made him sit on a chair and began insulting his nature, cursing, offending, and beating in whatever way they could. A Russian boy was handcuffed and pushed to the ground because he said he wanted to smoke. The policemen were hitting him, holding him by the hair, pushing his head against the wall. The policemen using violence were shouting, telling other policemen with cameras to turn off the cameras and join them. They did not want their violence to be recorded.
They were taking away a girl; her fiance said he wanted to go with her. They said, “Shut up, we will take you all to the same place.” They spoke with a vocabulary not characteristic of a law-enforcement body, with personal insults, humiliating curses,” said the citizens who were at the scene. According to them, their arrest was registered at dawn, at 05:00 PM, despite the fact that they stayed in the club for three hours without the possibility of free movement.
These citizens claim that they were deprived of the opportunity to use a telephone and call lawyers. After getting beaten and sworn at the Arabkir police, the citizens were taken to the Investigation Committee, from where some of them left in the afternoon.
Neither the Ministry of Internal Affairs, nor the Investigation Committee, who publish many messages on a daily basis, have not published any official information about this incident for the third day. Forrighst.am was confirmed by the press service of the Central Committee about the actions taken in the club and said that those actions were conditioned by the realization of data received on illegal drug trafficking in the club.
“37 people from the club were taken to the police department. 34 were released shortly after, 3 people were arrested. Criminal proceedings have been initiated under the first part of Article 393 of the RA Criminal Code. An investigation is being conducted. The committee will make a statement later,” Gor Abrahamyan, spokesperson of the Investigation Committee, told Forrights.am.
It should be noted that the citizens who alerted us claim the opposite, stressing that they stayed in the police station as well as in the Investigation Committee from 5 am to noon.
The IC does not give any comments related to the alleged illegalities of the police.
It is not the first time that the police have forcibly brought citizens from entertainment clubs to the police stations. This year, on April 23, a similar incident happened in the Polygraph club, when 41 people were taken to the police department by force and beaten in the name of fight against illegal drug trafficking.
The law enforcement officers do not react to the violence and insults used by the police, and they do not receive a legal evaluation. After these scandalous incidents, there are no known cases of bringing any policeman to justice.
Irrefutable evidence of how various police officials use violence against defenseless citizens is regularly published. On June 1, 2023, a video was circulated showing Arsen Ghaitmazyan, the head of the Criminal Investigation Department of Dilijan city, mercilessly beating a 16-year-old boy in one of the city’s hotels. Before this sensational video was made public, Arsen Ghaitmazyan was at liberty. He repented only verbally.
In the center of Yerevan, a red-beret knocks a citizen to the asphalt. The incident took place on June 3, 2023. An dranken citizen shouts sexual insults at a police officer. After the incident, the powers of the police officer were temporarily suspended, but he continues to remain in the system.
“Journalists for Human Rights” NGO urges citizens not to leave the violence against them unanswered and to publicize them by contacting us.