On the night of April 23 of this year, representatives of the RA Police invaded the territory of the “Poligraf” techno club without any justification or legal basis. This illegal invasion by the police was followed by a brutal beating of the young people in the club, then everyone was laid on the ground and forcibly taken to the police station, where employees and visitors of the club were severely beaten, and also naked at the police station for examination.
Such behavior is unacceptable and condemnable, and its impunity is dangerous. If the police do not adequately investigate this violation of human rights and do not hold the offending police officers accountable, we can witness continuous illegalities in various entertainment and other public places.
This case is an attack on human rights, especially on freedom, dignity, self-expression, lifestyle, different culture and youth and citizens of RA in general.
“Poligraf” is a free creative community space for youth, which in a short time successfully bridged individuals and groups representing the most diverse layers of society, creating a new culture of unity and solidarity in our country.
Now this creative youth venue, a space for self-expression, diversity and inclusion, is in danger of closing.
We express our solidarity and support to Poligraf and the protection of cultural diversity in our country.
We demand from the RA Government:
- Pursue proper investigations into human rights abuses to prohibit police permissiveness.
We demand from the RA Ministry of Internal Affairs:
- To carry out an official investigation and bring to justice the delinquent police officers,
- Initiate criminal proceedings and bring to justice the police officers who have exercised physical and mental influence over the arrested persons.
We call on the Ombudsperson of the RA
- to give a clear assessment of what happened, because neutrality of the Ombudsperson in the case of such illegalities cannot in any way contribute to the reduction of police violence.
We can record that during the last 4-5 years, the reforms implemented by the RA government with the support of Western partners in the law enforcement system of RA are coming to nothing.
We call upon the US and EU embassies accredited in Armenia, in particular,
- to follow up on the process of reforms implemented in Armenia’s law enforcement system with their direct support, as well as to respond to the discriminatory and homophobic manifestations of the police.
A similar way of working is not specific to a state that has adopted the path of democracy, legal and respecting human fundamental rights and freedoms, but to a repressive system that follows the path of authoritarianism and police rule.
“Restart Gyumri” Initiative Center NGO
“Women’s Resource Center” NGO
Student Council of Shirak State University
Youth Union of Gyumri
“Sexual Assault Crisis Center” NGO
“Human Rights Research Center” NGO
“The Helsinki Association for Human Rights” NGO
Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor
“Centre for Community Mobilization and Support” NGO
“Peace Dialogue” NGO
“Pink” human rights defender NGO
“Journalists for Human Rights” NGO
Public Journalism Club NGO
Journalists’ Club “Asparez”
Media Initiatives Center