On September 4, Levon Barseghian, Board Chairman of “Asparez” Journalists’ Club of Gyumri, and lawyer Artak Zeynalian held a press conference at the Media Center of Yerevan. The discussion centered on the two-years-long litigation between Levon Barseghian and law enforcement agencies. Levon Barseghian presented the journalists with the July 15, 2013 ruling of the RA Administrative Court on the lawsuit, filed by the Head of “Asparez” versus the Kentron Police Department of Yerevan.
As we have reported, the reason for going into law was the incident that occurred in the morning of September 21, 2011 in Yerevan city center. The twelve citizens, who had gathered at the statue of Martiros Sarian, were preparing for the protest action against the participation of foreign units in the military parade on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary
of Armenia’s Independence. A lieutenant colonel of police who introduced himself as
one of the heads of the Kentron Police Department, questioned the activists about their intentions, then went away, and after a while ordered the representatives of law enforcement bodies to arrest the rally’s organizers – Levon Barseghian and sculptor Arno Kur (Sasha Galechian). The latter ones were conveyed to the Kentron Police Department, where they stayed more than 3 hours and were released when the parade was over. In the evening of the same day, Levon Barseghian and Arno Kur delivered a statement, claiming that their detention was unlawful, the police had made use of force, an attorney was not allowed to visit them, and they were not presented the protocol of reconduction. The statement authors emphasized that the police violated their constitutional rights to freedom of movement, assembly and expression; thereby they intended to address the court. On December 9, 2011, the RA Administrative Court submitted the lawsuit of Levon Barseghian versus the Kentron Police Department. The court hearings started on May 3, 2012 (for details see Yerevan Press Club Report “On Freedom of Speech in Armenia” in 2012).
On July 15, the Administrative Court ruled to satisfy the lawsuit of Levon Barseghian, holding that “his rights to freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of association (freedom of assembly), freedom of movement, personal freedom and inviolability have been violated”. The Court also found that the actions of the police officers of Kentron Department were unauthorized and obliged the respondent to reimburse the plaintiff’s court costs in the amount of 8,000 AMD (about $ 20).
At the meeting with journalists, Levon Barseghian and Artak Zeynalian, legal representative of “Asparez” Head, assessed the Administrative Court’s ruling as unprecedented, while noting that the police have not appealed the ruling and it is effective since August 15, 2013. According to Levon Barseghian, a key role in the outcome of the case had the video footages about the incident that were made by the Armenian Service of Radio “Liberty” and Epress.am, and were submitted as evidence during the proceedings.