Yerevan’s Arabkir and Kanaker-Zeytun district court upheld at the end of November last year the Special Investigation Service decision to close the investigation into the police officers’ unwarranted visit to journalist Arpi Makhsudyan’s house. Makshudyan’s lawyer Ani Chatinyan, has already challenged the district court ruling at the Court of Appeals.
Recall, on May 11, 2017, four persons in civilian clothes went to Civilnet.am reporter Arpi Makhsudyan’s house and wanted to search the property without a warrant and without the reporter’s consent. The visitors, who identified themselves as police officers, told Makhsudyan that they had been informed by sources in Moscow that the journalist was hiding a criminal at her house. When asked by the reporter whether they had a warrant to search her house, the men replied that they did not one when it came to grave crimes. “I told them that they could not search my house without a warrant, and they replied that I did not have enough legal awareness to expalin them what they could and could not do,” the reporter later told Epress.am, stressing that the visitors then threatened to arrest her and her father-in-law because they were “obstructing our work.” When Makhsudyan warned the men that she would call her lawyer, they “suddenly changed their tactics” and insisted that “we only need your help.”
On June 27, 2017, the SIS decided not to initiate proceedings against the four officers, insisting that they had committed no crime. The decision was subsequently appealed in the General Prosecutor’s Office, which, however, found the complaint unjustified and denied it.
The journalist’s lawyer then took the case to court, arguing that investigators had not taken all possible measures to discover what had actually happened at Makhsudyan’s house.
“The officers had information that someone had used the Internet in Makhsudyan’s apartment, which suggests that her correspondence and telephone communications have been declassified. In other words, it is not rules out that the authorities have illegally intruded into her private and family life,” Chatinyan said, stressing that investigators did not take any measures to look into the above mentioned issues. According to the lawyer, the SIS based its decision solely on the police officers’ testimonies, who insisted that they had gone to Makhsudyan’s house not for the purpose of conducting a search, but in the search for a certain Karen.
The court, however, decided that Makhsudyan’s rights and freedoms had not been violated and that all necessary investigative actions had been carried out.
Speaking to Epress.am on Wednesday, Makhsudyan said the investigation process has strengthened her concern that what happened in fact was pure police persecution. “The officers’ motives for the visit have yet to be revealed. They say they were looking for a criminal but it is unclear how they were going to find this person if they did not intend to conduct a search,” the reporter argued.