On August 3 in Shurnakh village, an attack was committed on Hayk Hakobyan’s home. Hakobyan and his 8 friends, who he was hosting in his home, were beaten and expelled from the village based on their real or alleged sexual orientation. This was evidenced by the abusive, cursing expressions and calls of the attackers, which is also confirmed by the video footage taken by the victims. This is also confirmed by Shurnukh’s community leader in an interview with iravunk.com.
Hayk Hakobyan is a LGBT activist who engages in protecting the rights of LGBT people, as well as fighting lawlessness and corruption, both in his own village and in the country.
Hakobyan supposes that political subtext could be hidden within the story. For that reason he has presented to us certain facts about previous activities and the subsequent pressure that he has endured.
It should be noted that Hayk Hakobyan actively participated in the implemented events during the Velvet Revolution. During that time, he and his friend left for Goris in order to unite its local people for a peaceful gathering.
On the day of the departure, according to Hayk Hakobyan, his relatives were personally called by order of the mayor of Goris, threatening that it would “not be good” if he continued “doing such things”. Hayk’s father called the district police with the same request. Later, Hayk alerted the local police department informing them of the pressure that the mayor was putting on him. The police did not take any steps, however the meeting did not take place in Goris. The next day in the center of Goris, Hayk and his friends were victims of violence. The case took place this April 21. Hayk’s friend told the story in more detail in an interview with epress.am.
Later Hayk Hakobyan, having learned about the corruption risk of the Shurnukh village mayor and hearing the complaints of the villagers, sent a letter to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on behalf of the villagers, so that Pashiyan can take action to find out the legitimacy of the village mayor’s actions.
Specifically, it was mentioned in the letter, that community owned property was given to the villagers for rent and, as a result, money was borrowed. The village school was also sold, and as a result education in the village is not properly organized. Further, the seeds and fuel allocated to the village by state programs do not reach the villagers (attached to Hayk Hakobyan’s letter sent to the Prime Minister, the contracts between the village residents and the village mayor, and copies of receipts issued by the village mayor. For security purposes, aside from Hayk Hakobyan’s name and signature, we have omitted the other residents of the village.)
The Prime Minister’s letter, by the insistence of Hayk Hakobyan, was written to the mayor of Goris, who during the process did not give it, reasoning that he does not have the jurisdiction to send any materials to the police. Since the letter was sent through Hayk Hakobyan’s email address, it was not difficult for the mayor to know who sent the letter.
As we had informed days earlier, the attack that had taken place on August 3 was organized by the same people who around three months prior had committed violence against Hayk Hakobyan in Goris. According to Shurnukh resident Hayk Hakobyan, those people were residents of Goris, not Shurnukh village. As the victims claim, and as the Shurnukh village mayor personally stated later on, that the mayor was present when 9 young people were expelled from the village after being subjected to beatings. Lastly, he also noted in an interview the next day, that they had been informed by the internet in advance that there was going to be a meeting called “Queer gathering 2” in Shurnukh village, which was being organized by Hayk Hakobyan. The purpose of the meeting was to gather with friends at Hayk Hakobyan’s home for a summer vacation. In 2017, Hayk Hakobyan also hosted his friends in his home, however not one incident took place.
The sequence of events proves that the last case was not accidental and was predetermined. It is evident from the interconnected events that not only the residents of Shurnukh but also the people who arrived from Goris had been informed beforehand that Hayk Hakobyan had guests had come to the village with a clear address and a clear purpose.
We want the case investigators as well as other law enforcement agencies to draw their attention to the circumstance that the possible motive of the attack on Hayk Hakobyan and his guests was not only the real or alleged sexual orientation of the latter, but also the political stance and activities of Hakobyan.
- Considering motives and the role of assessment of any crime for comprehensive, full and objective investigation;
- Reminding the level of danger of any hate-motivated crime and its effect of social and national security;
We call on:
- the investigative body to examine the presented facts and take into account the criminal justice qualification of the case
- the prosecutor’s office that is supervising the case to be vigilant, so that no fact is left out of the investigation
- the police of the Republic of Armenia to take measures to examine the facts mentioned in this statement and hold the guilty parties responsible
- the government of Armenia to examine the case, within the scope of its authorities, as well as the the facts mentioned in this statement and/or prevent possible corruption manifestations.