On 20 June 2022, another court hearing took place in Yerevan General Jurisdiction Court in the frame of human rights activist Sashik Sultanyan’s case.
Sashik Sultanyan was charged under point 1 of part 2 of Article 226 of the RA Criminal Code (incitement of national, racial or religious hatred), whereby voicing violations of the rights of Yezidis residing in Armenia was qualified as incitement of national hatred.
Unlawful criminal prosecution against Sashik Sultanyan was denounced by Armenian human rights organizations and civil society representatives, as well as international reputable human rights organizations. The RA Human Rights Defender also expressed their concern over the case. Moreover, CoE Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović applied to the RA Prosecutor General to get clarifications regarding this case.
This unlawful criminal prosecution is implemented with a view to silencing Sashik Sultanyan’s voicing of problems of national minorities. This is yet another example of ungrounded targeting and unlawful persecution of human rights activists.
The US Department of State also addressed Sashik Sultanyan’s case in its 2021 Report on International Religious Freedoms.
Sashik Sultanyan’s rights are protected in court by Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor advocates Ani Chatinyan and Samson Galstyan, advocate Ara Ghazaryan has also been involved in the defense.
During the previous court hearing, the defense made a petition and the materials concerning Sashik Sultanyan’s phone conversations were examined in camera, taking into account the fact that those were private conversations.
The evidence being examined also includes conversations in the Yezidi language; no translator has been involved to examine those conversations yet. Accordingly, as the defense proposed, the procedure of examining the evidence was changed: before a translator is involved to decode the audio recordings, the court will interrogate witnesses.
Based on this, the court session was postponed and scheduled at 10:30 on 28 June 2022.