ANC: SHANT HARUTYUNYAN AND HIS JAILED SUPPORTERS ARE POLITICAL PRISONERS
HUMAN RIGHTS | 20.10.14 | 11:56
Minister refrains from comments on Shant Harutyunyan trial outcome,
The opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) has recognized jailed
protest leader Shant Harutyunyan and his dozen supporters who have
been sentenced to lengthy prison terms as political prisoners.
The court in Yerevan on Friday found the 47-year-old leader of the
Tseghakron party, his underage son Shahen and ten other activists
who also participated in the November 5, 2013 anti-government protest
guilty of acts of hooliganism or also of using violence against police
officers. The judge presiding over the trial handed prison sentences
ranging from 1 to 7 years to the activists.
In a statement released on Monday the ANC emphasized that the jail
terms given to the defendants in the trial are “evidence of the ruling
regime’s utter vindictiveness and disregard for the elementary norms
of morality and law.”
The opposition party said that due to the circumstances of the cases
and the trial as well as its outcome the defendants meet the criteria
of political prisoners as set by a corresponding resolution of the
Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly.
The ANC added that from now on it recognizes the convicted activists as
political prisoners, stating that “it will use all its possibilities
both in Armenia and in the international arena to achieve their
release as soon as possible.”
“It will also be one of the priority issues of the process of power
change that has been started in Armenia,” the opposition party
Armenia’s leading human rights activists have also slammed the court
for passing a “politically motivated” verdict and sentencing the
defendants, including a minor, to lengthy prison terms.
The lawyers of Harutyunyan and other defendants said they intended
to appeal the verdicts and sentences at the appeals court.
Armenia’s Justice Minister Hovhannes Manukyan, meanwhile, refused to
comment on the outcome of the trial when approached by media over the
weekend. He said he could not do so until the end of the appeal process
as otherwise he would be seen as influencing the justice system.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress