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Incident at Khor Virap: Prosecutor Curses Women, Relatives of March 1 Victims

Samvel Harutyunyan, killed in Yerevan on Mar. 1, 2008, would’ve turned 32 on Monday. Recall, Harutyunyan was one of the 10 people killed as a result of excessive force used by national police and security forces who were called in to disperse mass protests disputing the 2008 presidential election.

Harutyunyan’s relatives, along with members of the Armenian National Congress (HAK), paid a visit to the cemetery in the village of Lusarat in Ararat marz (province), then paid their respects at the Harutyunyans’ home.

After leaving the Harutyunyans’ home, HAK members and a few parents of other Mar. 1 victims entered Khor Virap Monastery to light a candle, where they saw Koryun Piloyan, a prosecutor named in several court cases in connection with the events of Mar. 1–2, 2008. Piloyan had come to Khor Virap with guests visiting from abroad.

Sargis Kloyan, father of Mar. 1 victim Gor Kloyan, told Epress.am that he approached Piloyan and said, “How are you, Piloyan, you’ve come to be absolved of your sins?”

According to Kloyan, a little while later, one of the women in their group, seeing Piloyan, said, “You have no right to enter the church — this is not a place for people like you. March 1 criminal!”

According to witnesses, after this, Piloyan began to curse at the women, saying “Fuck off” and calling them “international prostitutes.”

One of the women, Violet Ghazaryan, approached the dean of the monastery (who had witnessed the exchange) and said: “I feel uncomfortable that a prosecutor of our country, within the walls of a church, in the presence of foreign visitors, is cursing women — did you hear it?”

The dean said, indeed, he heard it, but he has no authority to say anything to the prosecutor.

“But he will receive his punishment from God,” said the church attendant.