Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Kapan Police did not conduct a proper investigation

May 18, 2022

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The facts underlying the report made by HCAV regarding violation of the right to privacy were not properly examined and no criminal case was initiated.


On 9 April 2022, HCAV Chairperson Artur Sakunts was in  cafe “Elegant” in Kapan together with his colleagues Levon Barseghyan and Larisa Minasyan. Facebook user Syuzi Badoyan posted on her account a photo taken in the aforementioned cafe with the caption: “A worrisome photo was transferred to me from the restaurant “Elegant” in Kapan”. The photo was also published in the daily “Hraparak”.


As a result of taking a photo of personal information and sharing it in the media, Artur Sakunts’s and his colleagues’ fundamental rights of inviolability of private and family life, honor and reputation, and respect for private and family life were violated, based on which HCAV made a crime report to the RA Prosecutor General’s Office. The Prosecutor’s Office redirected it to the Prosecutor’s Office of Syunik region, and they redirected it to the RA Police Kapan division. 


Based on the lack of a criminal act, Police Kapan division investigation department senior inspector S.A.Harutyunyan did not initiate a criminal case.


The decision to refuse to initiate a criminal case is totally ungrounded and not argumented; a number of facts were not taken into account, real circumstances were distorted. It is noteworthy that cafe “Elegant” video recording equipment is controlled by Kajaran Copper and Molybdenum Combine security service, which should not have the authority of security control over another legal entity, moreover, they cannot collect personal information through video recording equipment and use (and also disseminate) it as appropriate. The Police senior inspector did not even investigate how grounded it is for Kajaran Copper and Molybdenum Combine to have the authority  to control the security of cafe “Elegant” (it is noteworthy that Kajaran Copper and Molybdenum Combine is 25 km away from Kapan). It should also be mentioned that Syuzi Badoyan, who posted the photo, is a journalist of “The 5th channel” mass media and is known for targeting public figures and human rights activists. 


Based on these substantiations, HCAV appealed to the RA Prosecutor General’s Office against the Police decision on not initiating a criminal case. They redirected the appeal to the Prosecutor’s Office in Syunik region.


It becomes clear from the Police inspector S. Harutyunyan’s decision that the decision on not initiating a criminal case was based only on explanations of cafe “Elegant” employees, yet commission of the alleged crime should be attributed to them. Therefore, the cafe employees’ explanations could not be a basis for the RA Police Kapan division to conclude that there are no grounds to initiate a criminal case. 


While Police Kapan division claims that the published photo was taken by “unidentified” citizens and not by video recording equipment of afe “Elegant”, no action was taken to identify the relevant person. It was also not checked how Syuzi Badoyan got the photo taken in the cafe.


This workstyle of the Police Kapan division comes to state once again that materials were objectively not prepared. The circumstances presented in the appeal contain crime features, for the disclosure of which it is necessary to at least initiate a criminal case and conduct preliminary investigation. 


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