Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Next court session for human rights activist Sashik Sultanyan’s case to be held on 26 January 2022

November 24, 2021

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Today, on 24 November 2021, a court session of Sashik Sultanyan’s case was held, presided by judge K. Farkhoyan, in Yerevan General Jurisdiction Court.


He was charged under Article 226 part 2 clause 1 of the RA Criminal Code (Inciting national, racial or religious enmity), in the frame of which, speaking about violations of the rights of Yazidis living in Armenia was qualified as incitement of national enmity.


Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor advocates Arayik Zalyan and Samson Galstyan have undertaken protection of Sashik Sultanyan’s rights in court, advocate Ara Ghazaryan has also been involved.


During today’s court session, Sashik Sultanyan’s defenders first petitioned to remove “signature regarding not leaving” measure of restraint applied to the defendant. Despite the defenders’ substantiations, the Court turned down the petition. However, the Court upheld the petition to give a permission to leave the Republic of Armenia in order to participate in the UN Forum on Minority Issues.  


The defenders then petitioned to suspend the criminal case proceedings and apply to the Constitutional Court regarding the constitutionality of Article 226 of the Criminal Code. The Court decided to examine the petition later, after examining the evidence.


The Court then started the trial phase. Accusing Prosecutor A. Karapetyan presented the concluding part of the charge. Sashik Sultanyan mentioned that it was not clear to him what he was charged with: statements attributed to him in the charge are presented incorrectly, the translation was not done properly. He also added that his statements were not made publicly, it was a conversation, and after it was published, he immediately demanded and had the publication removed from the website.


Sashik Sultanyan also stated that he did not consider himself guilty in the charge filed against him. The Court proceeded with examining the evidence. The court session was postponed and rescheduled for 15:30, 26 January 2022. 


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. Besides, the RA Human Rights Defender also expressed his concern.


The CoE Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic applied to the RA Prosecutor General to get clarifications regarding Sashik Sultanyan’s case.

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