Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Statement on the situation of the investigation into policemen’s degrading activities towards citizens in Poligraf club

May 3, 2023

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Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor and a number of non-governmental organizations made a statement regarding the Police raid into Poligraf club on 24 April 2023, at around 1 a.m., and their illegal activities against the club staff and visitors, in particular, torture, degrading treatment, physical and psychological violence. The statement strongly condemns Police officers’ activities violating human rights and dignity. 

 

Consistently engaged in human rights protection against permissive behavior of the RA Police officers, we record that other competent state authorities, namely, the Prosecutor’s Office and investigative bodies, do not take adequate and necessary efforts to conduct investigation into facts of violation of absolute human rights.

 

In particular, in the frame of the criminal case initiated against Poligraf club, persons affected by Police officers’ activities  have not been given the legal status of victim so far, while most of those involved in the case have not undergone a forensic medical examination to confirm the fact of physical violence and injuries caused by the Police, and others were appointed to undergo a forensic medical examination around a week after the incident, despite the fact that the crime report was made by HCAV on 27․04․2023 based on an application by a citizen who applied to the Organization.

 

HCAV hereby states that instead of initiating criminal proceedings within 24 hours based on a report indicating a prima facie crime, the RA Prosecutor General’s Office ignores the need to urgently protect the rights of persons tortured by the Police officers, and around a week after the report was made, has not taken the necessary urgent steps, and has not performed its Convention obligations on account of violation of the absolute right to be free from torture, and degrading treatment as established by law. 

 

Taking into account the condition that all this is about mass violations of the Convention and constitutional absolute right to be free from torture and the principle of prohibition of torture by the RA Police, the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor human rights NGO strongly condemns the total indifference and inaction manifested by the RA Prosecutor General’s Office and other competent bodies towards public violations of inalienable human rights.

 

The RA Prosecutor General’s Office is supposed to urgently institute a criminal case and assign the investigative committee to implement the following investigative activities: disclose the victims, recognize them as victims, appoint forensic medical and forensic psychological examinations, interrogate the victims and witnesses, terminate the powers of the policemen who raided the club, hold them separately from one another for them not to have an opportunity to discuss the incident and agree upon the conditions.

 

We hereby declare that we will consistently pursue legal protection of the citizens affected by the police officers’ unlawful activities, so that the Republic of Armenia, which has adopted democratic and legal values, strongly observes respect for human rights, freedoms and dignity, and human treatment.

 

At the same time, we demand from the RA Prosecutor General’s Office and investigative bodies to urgently implement the above-mentioned obligations and conduct effective, comprehensive and objective investigation in order to disclose the policemen and law enforcement officers who committed illegalities, and hold them liable.

 

Impunity entails crimes committed not only by citizens but also law enforcement officers, while elimination of impunity is the main obligation of the Prosecutor’s Office and investigative bodies.

 

03․05․2023

Vanadzor 

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