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SERIES OF ATTACKS ON POLITICAL AND CIVIL ACTIVISTS IN ARMENIA

Karen Tovmasyan

On  December 9 and 10 three commanders of Kharabakh war Razmik Petrosyan, Suren Sargsyan, and Manvel Yeghiazaryan who are also known for their opposition activities were attacked and beaten by unknown intruders.

Razmik Petrosian, who was among the veterans attacked by intruders   says that the deputy chief of police Levon Yeranosyan in a phone call has confessed that the attackers were his bodyguards.

Petrosyan also says, that his friend from the past, Levon Yeranosyan warned him if he didn't leave the country he would have bigger problems.

"These actions are called to create an atmosphere of fear, but we will not be frightened. We assure our people that we won't let anybody spread fear in our country".

In his interview to "Joxovurd" daily Levon Yeranosyan neither denied nor confirmed the statements about his involvement in the attacks, but stated that "he would cut anybody's ears, who dare to insult Serzh Sargsyan, the President of Armenia".

Although this attacks came on the table of the public agenda and media together with  human rights defenders widely discussed this attacks, mostly blaming the authorities next attack on opposition MP Aram Manukyan on December 11 called a great resonance not only in Armenia but abroad as well.

 Aram Manukyan one of the most prominent Armenian politicians, who read the declaration of Independence of Armenia in 1990,  currently the secretary of the largest opposition faction of the parliament and the vice-president of the  Armenian National Congress opposition party, was attacked in front of his house. After the attack Manukyan lost his consciousness and was taken to hospital, the cameras registered how politician is getting attacked.

Manukyan refused to give comments to newscafe.ge, saying, that he has nothing to add to the statement released by the party stating that the attack is an act of political terror and it was organized by the authorities to terrify the population.

Manukyan says, that the later events and press releases of the Police and the Investigative committee come to prove this statement.

Three days after the attack on Aram Manukian the police released a statement saying they have detained the suspected who attacked the opposition MP. According to the press release, "the suspect announced that the attack was motivated by his patriotic feelings, which were insulted by Aram Manukian, who during the opposition rally in Abovian city was calling the demonstrators send Sezh Sarkisyan to the hell".

A day later another investigation body, the General investigative committee released a statement decalaring that Aram Manukyan  has injuries, which needed further expertise. The procedure would take 3 weeks, and by this time the suspect was set free.

This statement of the General investigative committee called a wave of criticizm at the Parliament. The former Deputy general persecutor of Armenia Gagik Jhangiryan in his parliamentary speech stated, that Manukyan got a concussion of the brain which is a middle injury and so another article. He criticized the actions of General investigative committee saying, that the attack on Manukyan is not a simple attack and the criminal shouldn't be set free.

The spokes-person of General instigative committee of Armenia Sona Truzyan in a letter to newscafe. ge informed us, that the accusation is based on the gathered facts and the true extent of the injury  will be clear on December 31 and after the medical expertise, the accusation maybe changed.

This attacks were also criticized by European and International organizations as well.

" The EU Delegation reiterates its concern at the absence of results regarding the investigations into similar incidents of 2013. The perception of ineffective law enforcement is raising concerns among Armenian civil society, Human Rights Defenders and international observers and risks nurturing a sense of impunity in Armenia.

The EU Delegation in Armenia recalls that respect for democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms remain essential elements in the European Union’s bilateral agenda with Armenia, as agreed in the joint statement made at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius last November"-the statement said.

International political organizations such as Alliance of Liberals and Democrats of Europe, ( ALDE: the third biggest party in the European parliament) International Federation of Liberal Youth, and the Liberal International in a joint statement released on December 17 also called  the authorities to conduct a transparent investigation.

"We jointly remind that this incident is not an isolated case of political violence. It is a consequence of governmental policies of authoritarianism, far away from the commitments that the country has a Council of Europe member state. … The Armenian regime should stop seeking an inspiration in the political system of Azerbaijan and should transform Armenia into a country of human rights, democracy and rule of law"- the joint statement stated.