Armenian ombudsman highlights police abuses in July events

15:43 • 21.04.17



Despite the attempts to interrupt his press conference, Ombudsman Arman Tatoyan on Friday presented his findings evaluating law enforcers’ conduct during the hostage standoff which followed the patrol police regiment’s armed seizue in July.

Arman Tatoyan noted that the policemen responsible for maintaining law and order committed gross violations of human rights, using excessive force against the crowd supporting the radical opposition group which kept the building under a fortnight’s occupation.


The report, comprising four chapters, addresses unlawful detentions and police attempts to hamper attorneys’ entrance into precinct stations, Tatoyan said.  


“People were being taken to police without any clarification. That, certainly, is unacceptable as there was no evidence suggesting that it wasn’t a peaceful assembly in question. It was a sporadic rally conforming to the urgency criteria,” he said, adding that the police very often randomly selected their targets.


The ombudsman admitted that such a conduct spurred more tension at the protest site, provoking violent clashes between the police and the crowd.


The armed group calling itself Sasna Tsrer seized the police building on July 17, voicing urgent calls for President Serzh Sargsyan’s resignation and the release of political prisoners in Armenia. Three police officers were killed in the wake of armed clashes.


Tatoyan said their hotline telephone service received over 200 calls reporting 335 detentions in the period between 17 and 31 July,  


The ombudsman also addressed violence against journalists  who he said were among the law enforcers’ key targets.


"Violence was committed by plain-clothes people in the presence of the policemen. So the report raises the responsibility issue,” he said.  

 

Nelly Lazaryan





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