Home / Video / Shant’s Revolution: Documentary on Armenian Political Prisoners

Shant’s Revolution: Documentary on Armenian Political Prisoners

On October 31, 2013, Tseghakron Party leader Shant Harutyunyan announced the start of his protest movement. According to Harutyunyan, he was planning to start a revolution against the criminal regime. Before the rally on November 5 , he stressed that he would not use combat weapons during his revolution, and that it was open for those who wanted to join him.

On the way from Liberty Square towards Mashtots Avenue, plainclothes policemen began to provoke rally participants, which led to a fight breaking out between the officers and protesters. The police took 20 people into custody, subsequently, 14 of them were to stand trial.

Armenian National Congress (HAK) faction MP Nikol Pashinyan and human rights defender Artur Sakunts met with Shant Harutyunyan, who stated that Police Chief Vladimir Gasparyan had beaten him while in police custody.

On November 7, Epress.am spoke with human rights defender Mikayel Danielyan, who stated that Shant Harutyunyan was a political prisoner. Afterwards, the same status was given to Harutyunyan by a line of Armenian and international human rights organizations and Armenian political parties.

Harutyunyan and his friends were officially charged with hooliganism, and some with violence toward a representative of the authorities. Human rights defenders registered numerous violations during both the preliminary investigation and trial process. Relatives of the arrested were not allowed to visit them for a few months, the trial's plaintiffs were the police officers, who had been in plainclothes during the rally.

The Judge Mnatsakan Martirosyan often guided police officers giving testimony and helped them avoid undesirable questions. On July 12th, the first day of the trial, a man named Hayk Kyureghyan announced outside the court that he would not let them “judge Shant” and jumped on a car, firing an airsoft gun toward police officers. Kyureghyan was arrested and later announced that he had also been beaten at the police department, while Shant Harutyunyan welcomed Kyureghyan’s actions in the courtroom.

During the entire trial, Harutyunyan and his friends were announced that they were politically persecuted and that they did not accept the charges against them.

On October 17,  Judge Mnatsakan Martirosyan officially sentenced Shant Harutyunyan to 6 years imprisonment, Albert Margaryan also received 6 years, Vahe Mkrtchyan 7 years, Liparit Poghosyan 5 years, Vardan Vardanyan 5 years, Hayk Harutyunyan 4 years 6 months, Alek Poghosyan 4 years, Mkrtich Hovhannisyan 4 years, Armen Hovhannisyan 2 years, Sevak Mnatsakanyan 1 years 6 months, Tigran Petrosyan 1 year, and Misak Arakelyan was fined fifty times the minimum salary.

Shant Harutyunyan’s son, Shahen Harutyunyan, was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment, but the judge determined to conditionally not apply the sentence, instead he set probation for 4 years.