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Armenia

    June 23, 2015

    The Armenian authorities must urgently ensure an impartial, independent and thorough investigation into allegations that police used excessive force – including dousing people with water cannon – to disperse a mainly peaceful demonstration before arresting more than 200 protesters on the streets of the capital Yerevan early this morning, Amnesty International said.

    Yerevan police said they arrested 237 people after a crowd marched away from round-the-clock protests in a central square towards the presidential headquarters. Since 19 June, thousands of people have taken part in the demonstrations against rising electricity prices in Yerevan and elsewhere, including the town of Gyumri where 12 others were arrested.

    “For the Armenian authorities to disperse what was up until then a peaceful demonstration is a heavy-handed tactic that must be avoided to protect the right to freedom of expression and assembly. Video footage showing high-powered jets from water cannon flinging peaceful protesters to the ground is a cause for concern,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Europe and Central Asia Program Director at Amnesty International.

    September 06, 2013

    The Armenian authorities must investigate thoroughly and without delay the brutal attack on two Armenian activists and to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

    “The Armenian authorities have committed to ensure that activists can carry out their work without interference, obstacles, discrimination or fear of retaliation. To honour this commitment means only one thing in this particular case - that the attack on the two activists is investigated impartially and effectively and the perpetrators are found and brought to justice,” said Denis Krivosheev, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Programme director.

    Suren Saghatelian and Haykak Arshamian were set upon by half a dozen men, in the courtyard of Haykak’s apartment building at around 10 pm on the night of 5 September. The assault lasted for less than two minutes, but the kicks and punches that were aimed at their heads left both men hospitalised.

    The attack left Suren Saghatelian with a broken nose and finger, concussion and several bruises on his head. He had to undergo surgery immediately for his broken nose. Haykak Arshamian was given stitches for a gash on his cheek.

    August 22, 2013

    The Armenian authorities must respect the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and non-discrimination for all, Amnesty International said in a report published today.

    “The ability to exercise the right to freedom of expression, even when the views expressed may be deemed controversial, and the ability to gather and demonstrate peacefully are essential for the defence of human rights and for a functioning civil society,” said Natalia Nozadze, Amnesty International’s researcher on Armenia.

    Armenia: No space for difference exposes the harassment and intimidation suffered by civil society activists and journalists who question the mainstream view of the country’s conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh as well as expose abuses in the army, whose reputation as a backbone of nation remains current due to unresolved conflict.

    Through national and international obligations the Armenian authorities have committed to ensure that activists can carry out their work without interference, obstacles, discrimination or fear of retaliation.

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