Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

The Court issued a judgment on the case of the participant of April protests and the policemen’s actions were assessed as illegitimate

April 15, 2019

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On March 21, 2019, RA Administrative Court upheld S. Poghosyan’s  claim – who had been apprehended on April 19, 2018, on Yerevan Arshakunyats street- and recognized the policemen’s actions illegitimate.


S. Poghosyan’s representative, Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor lawyer Ani Chatinyan applied to the Court claiming to recognize illegitimate the policemen’s actions of apprehending S. Poghosyan and holding him in the police department longer than the timeframe set.


She mentioned that S. Poghosyan was apprehended without grounds envisaged by law and was held in the police division since 12:30 p.m. until 5 p.m., i.e. longer than 3 hours, which is the time period set by law. This violated his right to the freedom of assembly and right to freedom and personal inviolability.


Nevertheless, the RA Police did not accept the plaintiff’s claims in their response to the claim. The Police mentioned that S. Poghosyan was held in the police division longer than the time period set but neither this nor the policemen’s actions were illegitimate. The RA Police gave these interpretations to all the actions of the policemen.  In the response to the claim, it was particularly noted that they “slightly failed to adhere to the timeframe set”, but it was not considered illegal reasoning that a great number of persons were apprehended together with him and it was not possible to release everyone within 3 hours. With regard to the actions of apprehension, it was mentioned that “a legitimate interference” was made, since, according to the respondent, the persons were apprehended for their failure to do the legal requirement of the Police. With regard to the administrative body’s claim that there were a great number of people in the division and the administrative body could not manage to release them, it should be mentioned that the apprehended persons’ rights guaranteed by the RA Constitution and European Convention of Human Rights should not be violated merely because the administrative body is overloaded or has apprehended a great number of people and what is even more, without relevant grounds.


The Administrative Court recorded in its judgment that no proof pertaining to the police requirement or to its legality had been submitted to the court, which means that the grounds mentioned in the protocol of administrative arrest were not proved in the court. Therefore, the policemen did not have the necessary grounds to apprehend him and acted illegitimately.


With regard to holding the applicant in the police division more than the set 3 hours, the Court invokes the respondent himself, who acknowledged that fact during the trial. The European Convention of Human Rights and Article 27 of the RA Constitution enshrine the right to freedom and personal inviolability which can be restricted only for a legal aim. In this particular case, there was no such aim and depriving the person of his liberty longer than the designated time turned to be illegal.


The Court recognized confirmed the fact that the person was held apprehended longer than 3 hours and recognized the policemen’s actions illegal.


The Court underscored in the judgment that “While carrying out their powers, the police are, nonetheless, constrained by the human rights and freedoms of citizens enshrined in the RA Constitution”.


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