Police have charged activist Vardges Gaspari with 12 administrative and 1 criminal cases, 2 civil lawsuits, his bank accounts have been under arrest, his teenage son’s disability benefits are transferred to the police, while he is not able to leave the country for business trips. While Epress.am spoke with Gaspari, he stated he is not considering leaving the country, because it would mean putting an X on his years long struggle.
Gaspari, nevertheless, notes that the Police’s treatment and Police Chief Vladimir Gasparyan threatening speeches directed toward him, definitely inhibit him. According to him, during his picketing and protests, he was subjected to violence multiple times by the police, especially, when he received an injury to his spine, which the police responsible were never punished.
Gaspari stresses that the ruling authorities use buffer zones (bureaucratic hierarchy), during social movements and protests to keep distance from the people, which needs to be overcome. “I don’t understand, when people say the judge is not guilty when deciding a verdict, he’s getting the order from above him. When I’m protesting in front of Serzh Sargsyan’s house, the police can say, as they tell others, ‘brother, I'll have a problem because of you.’ People say what should that cop do, he’s getting commands from his superior. But no one thinks at that moment that the police are violating your right to protest. When lining those buffers, the authorities become intangible and unreachable (to the people). That’s why I organize protests directly in front of Serzh Sargsyan’s house,” said Gaspari.
While referring to Armenia’s political prisoners, Vardges Gaspari considers it important to focus on how they are being treated in prison. He noted that Armen Hovhannisyan, a political prisoner included in Shant Harutyunyan and his friends' case, stated during a court hearing that his life was being threatened, while proper attention was not given by the public, when in fact, it is a serious issue.
The activist stressed that at the end of Hovhannisyan’s speech the latter noted that he will continue to fight for his ideals, and people “gave him an ovation,” but the most important part to comprehend is what it means when a person is sitting in jail, in a closed system and says that his life is in danger.
Video in Armenian