Police officials visited a person in detention facilities and urged him to assume responsibility for 3 theft cases13:16, October 14, 2017 | News, Own news | Right to be free from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment | Police
As we reported before, HCA Vanadzor took on protection of the rights of A.H. who was arrested illegally by Stepanavan police last November and faced violence at the police station.
A.H. reported to HCA Vanadzor that some 10 police officers came up to them and arrested him threatening him with a handgun. Then they took him to Stepanavan police station where he suffered beating and degrading treatment and was forced to testify against his friend G.K. who accompanied him before he was apprehended. The police officers also used violence against G.K. when he started disputing with them on setting free his friend.
A. H. reported the incident only after he learnt that G.K. was detained. Later he got regular calls from unidentifiable phone numbers accompanied with threats and was urged not to stand for initiating any proceedings.
Based on G.K.’s and HCA Vanadzor’s reports on the incident of May 2, 2017, the RA Special Investigation Service initiated criminal proceedings and A.H. was declared victim. But on September 15, 2017, the RA SIS decided to suspend the criminal proceedings.
Before, A.H.’s representative Ani Chatinyan, lawyer at HCA Vanadzor, motioned to take protective measures as prescribed by law towards A.H. who possessed valuable information on the criminal case, given the threats against him by phone call. But the investigating body saw no threats and rejected the motion.
By rejecting the motion on taking protective measures and later deciding to suspend the criminal proceedings, the investigating body not only turned a blind eye to the 2 cases of ill-treatment at a time but also considered legal the visit of police officers to G. K. in the detention facilities.
Aram Ghazaryan, Head of Lori Marz (Region) Department, and Sargis Ayvazyan, Head of Stepanavan Police Division, visited G.K. in detention facilities of Taron Division in Vanadzor and tried to offer him money and milder sentence in return of taking responsibility for another 3 theft cases.
According to SIS Investigator S. Avetisyan, police officials visited G.K. only to have “rapid-response interviews” and according to the investigator they had no such talk.
Interestingly, the fact that the officials’ visit was illegal was not discussed at all: did they have the right to enter the detention facilities and have such a talk with detainee if the case was examined by the competent investigator? The more so, given that neither the Law on Police, nor the Law on Rapid-response and Investigation Activities lays down any such power. Also, the notion of “rapid-response interview” is not defined at all.
By deciding to suspend the criminal proceedings, investigator for high-profile cases S. Avetisyan bypassed the fact of abuse of power by the investigator in charge of the proceedings and the police officials. Also, the impact of the police actions on A. H. was not examined, especially given that during the questioning he noted that his fear of police officers deepened after the incident.
No legal assessment was given to A.H.’s illegal apprehension and violence used against him.
Based on these arguments, on October 3, 2017 HCA Vanadzor filed a complaint with the RA Prosecutor General’s Office against the decision on suspending the criminal proceedings of September 15, 2017.