Helsinki Groups Again Ask Armenia to Investigate Attack

Central Asian and Southern Caucasus Freedom of Expression Network
(CASCFEN), Azerbaijan
April 28 2004

Helsinki Groups Again Ask Armenia to Investigate Attack

CASCFEN – Aaron Rhodes, the Executive Director of the International
Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, Bjorn Engesland, the Secretary
General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and Anna Hakobyan, the
Executive Director of the Armenian Helsinki Association have sent an
open joint letter to the President of the Republic of Armenia Robert
Kocharyan and Prosecutor General, Aghvan Ovsepyan regarding the
attack on prominent human rights defender Mikael Danielyan. Following
is the text of the letter:

“The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) and the
Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) on 7 April wrote an open letter to
you, asking to ensure a prompt, thorough and transparent
investigation into the brutal physical attack on Mikael Danielyan,
Chairman of the Armenian Helsinki Association, perpetrated on 30
March 2004. We also said that there are indications that the
attackers might be connected to state structures, and that therefore
also representatives of the power structures should be questioned.

Now, more than two weeks later it appears that no investigation is
taking place. The investigating officer met Mr. Danielyan only twice
and as Mr. Danielyan could conclude from these talks, that the
investigator never questioned anyone else, not even those persons
whom Mr. Danielyan indicated as possible witnesses. We also noted in
our letter the lack of a thorough forensic examination of Mr.
Danielyan immediately after the attack. A medical forensic expert for
the first time met him only on April 14, after having been informed
about the incident on April 8.

Later on, on 13 April, the IHF also called for a full, independent
investigation of alleged broad violations of basic international
civil and political human rights norms by Armenian authorities in
their efforts to thwart protests against the government and the
president. We suggested that such an investigation should be done in
cooperation with experts from the OSCE and Council of Europe, and
independent civil society monitors. We were also presenting evidence
of violations of freedom of assembly, of freedom of movement, of the
freedom of the media, and of the persecution of political dissenters
that have occurred.

One of the particular concerns were attacks against Armenian
journalists during the demonstrations of 5 and 13 April. Despite the
existence of a lot of evidence about who the attackers were, the
investigation seems to come to nothing, and it seems as if the
Armenian authorities are reluctant to disclose the identity of the
(known) perpetrators.

The IHF, the NHC and the Armenian Helsinki Association will be
grateful for your support for processes that will promote solutions
to these problems that are consistent with Armenians obligations
under international human rights law and the principles of the OSCE.”

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS