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Human Rights Watch has sent a letter to the President of the Court of Cassation of Armenia, Arman Mkrtumyan, and said it is very concerned about the allegations of ill-treatment of the four defendants from Armenian National Congress and the lack of an effective investigation into these allegations.
We are writing to express our profound concern regarding the lack of effective investigation into allegations of ill-treatment relating to the case of Armenian National Congress activists Tigran Araqelyan, Artak Karapetyan, Sargis Gevorgyan, and Davit Kiramijyan, accused of disorderly conduct and violence against government representatives during an encounter with Yerevan police in August 2011.
On July 20, 2012, the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Norq-Marash administrative districts of Yerevan sentenced the four men to between two to six years in prison on charges of violent resistance or threat of violence against government authorities and hooliganism. On August 20, the defense filed an appeal based on substantive and procedural violations in the activists' case. On November 13, the Court of Appeal rejected the appeal.
We are aware that you are at this time determining whether to hear the cassation complaint submitted on December 23, 2012 concerning these cases and that you will issue a decision by January 27. Irrespective of whether the Cassation Court ultimately decides to hear these appeals, we urge you to consider the serious and credible llegations of ill-treatment of these four men immediately prior to their arrest and while in police custody on August 9, 2011.
We are very concerned about the allegations of ill-treatment of the four defendants and the lack of an effective investigation into these allegations.
International treaties to which Armenia is a party, including the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment all strictly prohibit inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This includes the right to a timely, impartial, effective investigation capable of leading to identification and prosecution of perpetrators. The failure to uphold these standards would constitute serious breaches of Armenia's international obligations.
Your honor, we hope that the Court of Cassation will be fully mindful of the above information as it relates to the case, and that it reviews all aspects of the case in accordance with Armenia's binding human rights obligations.
Human Rights Watch believes that it is very important that given the credible allegations of ill-treatment in this case, and Armenia's obligations to do so, that a prompt and thorough investigation into the allegations be conducted.
To note, the letter to Arman Mktrumyan was sent on 24 January. At the same day the Court of Cassation adopted a decision to give 20 day term to the lawyers' of activists to be able to appeal again.