Dearest Mikael, Happy Birthday to You! You are in the hearts of ours and those who have ever had the opportunity to know You and to be with You in the struggle for human rights and justice. We live and work with crazy and beautiful memories of You.
It is more than 20 days that Armen Bilyan and Smbat Barseghyan, members of the "Sasna Tsrer" group, have been going on a hunger strike in the “Nubarashen”Penitentiary of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia, with this demanding to provide proper medical care for them andto move them to the “Armavir”Penitentiary.
The demandforproper health care by a person, especially the detainee, shall not only be a subject of discussion, and that for a long time, but is subject to immediate execution. But until now, the question of subordination of the applications by A. Bilyan and S. Barseghyan has stillbeen on discussion. While the issue has being resolved, the health of these personsmay be irreparably harmed.The request for a move to another penitentiary is also the right of a person; moreover, such demand has more than enough grounds and reasons,whichwere filed in court, too.These simple and easy-to-solve problems have not beingsolved for a long time. Relevant bodies and institutions acting on behalf of the State - the Court, the Penitentiary Department, the Penitentiary Institution, which are called to ensure human rights and freedoms and to prevent violations, with their illogical administration and inactivity, once again prove that human rights violations in Armenia are universal in nature, especially those by the state bodies.The “Helsinki Association” human rights NGO expresses its concern over the current state of health of Armen Bilyan and Smbat Barseghyan and the possible unwanted consequences of the hunger strike they are on, condemning the inactivity and formal administration of all the competent authorities, and demanding that they should:
Ø put an end to the formal administration and ensure the protection of the rights of Armen Bilyan and Smbat Barseghyan;
Ø urgently take measures to ensure a substantial solution to their applications;
Ø bring to responsibilityto the sinners for the situation; and
Ø ensure minimum necessary conditions defined by law in penitentiaries, which will put an end to permanent infringement of the rights of prisoners.
The Ministry of Justice of Armenia has put into circulation a draft RA Judicial Code, which includes a provision on the right of the judge to fine a lawyer, participating in the trial, up to 100,000 Armenian drams.
In the condition of the absence of real independence of courts and of distorted justice, when the fight for justice is mostly on the shoulders of advocates and human rights defenders, the determination of such a legislative "sanction" against the latters is simply a challenge to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
It is noteworthy that bases for applying a judicial sanction the high reputation of the judiciary and goals of ensuring public confidence in the judiciary are mentioned.
The fact that the sanction has been chosen as the means of attaining these goals causes uncertainty. Authority and confidence can be earned or gained by legitimate work, and the way they are punished speaks about their own powerlessness.
On September 11, 2017, the next session of the General Meeting of the “Helsinki Association” human rights defender non-governmental organization took place. The session recorded a change in the membership of the organization’s Board. Thus, the following people are included as members of the mentioned body: Arayik Papikyan, Ararat Margaryan, and Arman Veziryan.
It is a long time the Helsinki Association has been voicing that the organization’s lawyers have been subjected to harassment in the performance of their professional duties. It has mainly been carried on by courts and law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, this has become usual.
The atmosphere of impunity formed around this vicious and condemnable phenomenon has resulted in the fact that one of the lawyers has also been subjected to personal threats and persecutions.
The organization’s lawyer Arayik Papikyan has been receiving e-mails, in which not only he is being threatened to abstain from performing his professional activities, but also his family members are subjected to threatening.
The Helsinki Association strongly condemns any, including personal, harassment against Arayik Papikyan, and demands that competent authorities should take immediate actions to discover the crime and to call potential trespassers to account.
Nina Karapetyants, President
“Helsinki Association” human rights defender NGO
P.S. The Special Investigation Service was reported on the crime.
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