Detaining citizens for distributing leaflets in the streets is a criminally punishable act, Armenia’s Special Investigation Service therefore has to look into and initiate criminal cases over such incidents, lawyer Tigran Hayrapetyan said in conversation with Epress.am, commenting on the recent incident with the family of jailed oppositionist Karo Yeghnukyan and members of the Armenian Women’s Front (AWF) civic initiative.
On Wednesday morning, Yerevan police detained opposition activist, AWF member Syuzan Simonyan during a rally on the capital’s Republic Square. Halfway to the police station, however, the officers stopped the car and told the woman that she was free to go and that the incident was a misunderstanding. Simonyan refused to leave the car and demanded that she is taken to the police station to file an illegal detention report, the officers used force to make her leave.
“They tricked me to make come out of the car. They said to fix their mistake, they’d put me in a taxi and send me home. But they dropped me off, quickly got back into the car and drove off,” Simonyan told the RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am).
Recall, four members of oppositionist Karo Yeghnukyan and several of his supporters were detained on Tuesday in a similar incident.
“The police are violating the constitutional right of a person or a group of people to freedom of peaceful assembly, which is a criminal offense and has to be dealt with by the Special Investigation Service,” lawyer Hayrapetyan told us. According to Hayrapetyan, the Yeghnukyan family has not yet decided whether to file a complaint over the incident.