Statement on Gevorg Safaryan’s Judgement

January 20, 2017, Yerevan

Statement

On January 16, 2016 Gevorg Safaryan, a member of the “New Armenia” political bloc, was sentenced to two years imprisonment after approximately a year-long lawsuit. On December 31, 2015 He and several other activists tried to put up a Christmas tree in the Freedom Square of Yerevan. The police reacted to their action with brutal force and arrested four of the activists on January 1, 2016. Gevorg Safaryan was one of them, but unlike the others he was apprehended for using force against a representative of the Armenian Police based on the 316th article of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia. The court decision regarding Gevorg Safaryan’s case once again emphasized how politicized the judicial system of Armenia is and showcased that Armenia has prisoners of conscience. The content of the court decision, which was announced by judge Mnatasakan Martirosyan, was predictable considering Gevorg Safaryan’s noticeable struggle against injustice, frequent participation in different assemblies, and severe criticism toward the government. It is noteworthy, that Mr. Martirosyan is known for his harsh punishments towards people with certain political and civic views.

The court decision made in the beginning of the year indicates that before the upcoming elections this is the way the incumbent government shows its approach towards civic activist, who attempt to establish real democracy in the country.

We, the undersigned civic organizations and individuals, view the court verdict for as authorities vendetta Gevorg Safaryan for harsh criticism of them, consider Gevorg Safaryan as a prisoner of conscious ’s and demand his immediate release.

Helsinki Committee of Armenia Human Rights Defender NGO

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly–Vanadzor

Open Society Foundations-Armenia

“Asparez” Journalists’ Club

Union of Informed Citizens NGO

Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation

Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression

Collaboration for Democracy Centre

Ecolur Informational NGO

“Sose Women’s Issues” NGO

Peace Dialogue NGO

Artashat Civic Youth Centre

Women’s Support Center

For Equal Rights NGO

Article 3 Club

Yerevan Center for Protection of Human Rights NGO

Boundaries of Our Rights NGO

Foundation Against the Violation of Law NGO

Women’s Rights Center NGO

Transparency International Anticorruption Center

Ecological Right NGO

LogoS Human Rights Defence NGO

Helsinki Human Rights Group of Spitak NGO

New Generation Humanitarian NGO

Ani Aghagyulyan, High School of Economics, Master’s Degree Student

Karen Tumanyan, Attorney

Tigran Hayrapetyan, Attorney