ARMENIAN BAR ASSOCIATION AND ITS ARWC CONDEMN THE TRAMPLING OF SASNA DZRER DEFENDANTS’ “RIGHT TO COUNSEL” AND DUE PROCESS, MISTREATMENT AND BEATINGS IN CUSTODY, AND INTIMIDATION OF AND THREATS LEVIED AGAINST DEFENSE ATTORNEYS IN YEREVAN COURTHOUSE

Armenian Bar Association and its ARWC call for the authorities to immediately restore order, and guarantee that defendants are afforded full due process without the threat of violence being committed against them and their counsel.

In civil society, a courthouse is hallowed ground. A sanctuary where the rule of law is hailed as predominant above all else. A bastion where a common citizen can seek redress and reclaim his liberty, when a government’s zeal at control, overreaches the bounds of reasonableness and becomes an arbitrary and capricious abuse of discretion. In civil society, a courthouse is not a boxing ring where a government can flex its muscle of brutality against those who seek reform.

The Armenian Rights Watch Committee—ARWC of the Armenian Bar Association has repeatedly and often singularly spoken out about the situation concerning the pretrial detention of those charged in connection with the Sasna Dzrer movement of last summer.

Thursday’s brutality in a Yerevan courthouse, as confirmed by Armenia’s ombudsman and reported and seen on video-footage, where as many as fifteen government security forces used the courthouse as a beating ground of Sasna Dzrer defendants and their counsel is another in a cascade of low points of reckless state action in this ongoing deplorable saga.

The ARWC strongly condemns the overt violence inflicted upon the Sasna Dzrer defendants and harassment of their defense attorneys. As an organization of lawyers, judges and legal scholars, the Armenian Bar Association also vehemently condemns the attack upon the independence of the Armenian judiciary that this assault represents.

Rough-housing and intimidation attacks leveled against legal counsel for defendants, who are officers of the court, is an affront by the Executive branch to Armenia’s entire judicial system and cannot be tolerated.

The Armenian Bar Association and its ARWC call on the authorities to immediately restore order, guarantee that defendants are afforded full due process without the threat of violence being committed against them and their counsel, and urge that prosecutorial authorities bring to justice those who committed these acts, and to account for their actions.

ARMENIAN RIGHTS WATCH COMMITTEE
—ARWC
ARMENIAN BAR ASSOCIATION

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