Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Wearing sunglasses and a medical mask seems suspicious to the NSS

May 24, 2022

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No criminal case was initiated based on HCAV’s report on violation of the right to participate in a peaceful assembly; the appeal was also rejected.


On 25 March 2022, the RA policemen and NSS workers interfered in foreign citizens’ peaceful action with the slogan “НЕТ путинской ВОЙНЕ” held at the Lusavorich-Zakyan crossroads in Yerevan and demanded to show identity documents and threatened to otherwise apprehend everyone to the police division. They also threatened that having identified those persons, they would transfer the data to the Embassy of the Russian Federation for them to know what their citizens were doing in the Republic of Armenia, and also lied that since they were not citizens of the Republic of Armenia, they did not have the right to conduct an assembly in the Republic of Armenia; while in reality, everyone shall have the right to freely participate and organize peaceful, unarmed assemblies.


As a result of policemen’s illegal actions, the right to peaceful assembly was violated, and based on this, on March 29, HCA Vanadzor made a report to the RA Prosecutor General’s Office. Materials of the report were examined by the RA Anti-Corruption Committee, which did not initiate a criminal case based on the lack of corpus delicti. While, in this case, in order to disclose corpus delicti features, it is necessary to initiate a criminal case and disclose - during the preliminary investigation - whether policemen had the authority to hinder peaceful assembly participants in conducting their action, whether there were manifestations of abuse of authorities in those actions, whether the officer on duty at the security service in the Embassy of Russia  had the right to demand an identification document from participants of the action going on on the sidewalk in front of the Embassy and demand from them to leave the rally location, whether there are sufficient and strong grounds to suspect the rally participants of committing a crime.  


The decision on not initiating a criminal case was again based on explanations provided by the Police and the NSS; yet, this alleged crime should be attributed to them. 


It is out of the scope of any logic that rally participants’ sunglasses and medical masks seemed suspicious to the NSS worker.


The policemen obviously manifested an illegal conduct: they used their phone camera to take a photo of the passport of one of the rally participants, demanded from the participants to move elsewhere and did not substantiate that demand by thus hindering passers-by to pay attention to the real demands of the rally participants.


Taking into account these circumstances, HCAV appealed the RA Anti-Corruption Committee’s decision on not initiating a criminal case. On May 2, the RA Prosecutor General’s  rejected the appeal.

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