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 Monday, April 22 2024 14:41
Alexandr Avanesov

Are Narek Samsonyan and Vazgen Saghatelyan political prisoners? -  International Center on Development of Parliamentarism 

Are Narek Samsonyan and Vazgen Saghatelyan political prisoners? -  International Center on Development of Parliamentarism 

ArmInfo. A month has passed since the co-authors of the "Imnemimi" podcast, opposition public  figures Narek Samsonyan and Vazgen Saghatelyan were illegally detained. the International Center on Development of Parliamentarism reported on its Facebook account.

According to the source, the political motivation to deprive them of  their freedom is not denied even by the current authorities. So, on  March 22 of this year, Samsonyan and Saghatelyan were detained and  then arrested on charges of hooliganism. Moreover, the process of  detention itself was carried out with the use of force, degrading the  dignity and personal integrity of a person, with the use of extremely  unreasonable and disproportionate violence.

According to the criminal prosecution initiated, Samsonyan and  Saghatelyan are accused of committing a crime under Article 297 of  the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia (hooliganism), that is,  using information and communication technologies to show disrespect  for society or open disdain for legal or moral norms. "The same norms  that were demonstrated by humiliating a person and using obscene  language addressed to them," the message says.

The source added that it is obvious to an unbiased observer that the  editing of the mentioned crime is a primitive reproduction of the  well-known crime of "serious crime", added to the RA Criminal Code by  the ruling political force in July 2021 and then removed under  international pressure, the purpose of which is to arbitrarily punish  citizens who criticize the government.

"As a result of the mentioned simple legislative tricks, the ruling  political power, apparently, tried to circumvent the requirement  attributed to it by international structures regarding the  fundamental rights of freedom of speech and information, and on the  other hand, continue to punish oppositionists who criticize it with  the help of criminal legal instruments. Samsonyan's arrest and  Saghatelyan is obvious evidence of this goal. Moreover, this  interpretation of this crime is in direct contradiction with the case  law established by the European Court of Human Rights, according to  which the permissible limits of critical statements against officials  are much wider. In particular, in the Linges case. v. Austria" the  ECtHR stated that the limits of permissible/acceptable criticism are  wider than in the case of private individuals. These people  inevitably and deliberately expose themselves to increased attention  from journalists and the general public for their every statement and  action and are therefore obliged to show a higher degree of tolerance  . In the case of Gundem v. Turkey, the ECtHR stated that the  authorities of a democratic state must tolerate criticism, even if it  is provocative or offensive. In the case of Rodriguez v. Portugal,  the ECtHR noted that the permissible limits of criticism of a public  figure are wider than in the case of private individuals. In the case  "Dalban v. Romania," the ECHR found it admissible to accuse the  politician of corruption and misuse of public funds," the report  emphasizes.

Its authors recall that on October 3, 2012, the Parliamentary  Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted Resolution 1900, defining  the concept of "political prisoner." According to the resolution, a  person deprived of personal liberty is considered a political  prisoner if the detention was applied in violation of any of the  fundamental guarantees defined by the European Convention on Human  Rights and its protocols.  In the case of Samsonyan, the method of  his detention, which humiliates his dignity and personal integrity,  confirms the presence of this criterion. Moreover, it is obvious that  if the detention of Saghatelyan had not been followed in  chronological order by the publication of a video recording of  Samsonyan's shameful imprisonment and its harsh criticism from human  rights activists. A political prisoner is also a person whose length  of detention is clearly disproportionate to the crime for which the  person was found guilty.

Samsonyan and Saghatelyan were detained by law enforcement officers  on March 22. Moreover, Samsonyan was detained with the use of brutal  disproportionate force, degrading human dignity. Later it became  known that Samsonyan was detained as part of a case being  investigated by the Investigative Committee under the article  "hooliganism committed by a group of persons using information  technology." As it turned out, the hosts of the "Imnemnim" podcast  were detained for voicing obscene language against Armenian Prime  Minister Nikol Pashinyan live. Both journalists are now under arrest.  

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