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Armenian Civic Activist ‘Mocked and Humiliated’ by Police

Prominent civil rights activist Vardges Gaspari, who was among the dozens detained yesterday by Armenia’s police, said in conversation with Epress.am today that he had been subjected to humiliation and mockery by law enforcement officers both on the way to the police station and while in custody. 

He was just being put in the police car, Gaspari went on, when deputy head of national police Levon Yeranosyan came up and started to provoke him; “He was trying to stir me up by saying, ‘You are an eager talker in front of cameras, how come you’re so quiet all of a sudden?’ I, of course, did not respond. Then they took me to a cell in the back of one of the vans, which was too small and I could hardly fit in. The officers forced me to lift my legs towards the roof, and I sat there, folded in half, for a rather long period of time.”

Upon reaching the destination, Gaspari claimed, police officers yanked the activist out of the car and dragged him to the police station; “They put me down on the hallway floor and kept me there until 10 pm. Officers leaving the restroom would shake all the water off their wet hands onto my face and then pretend they had not done anything.”

At around 10 pm, police officers took Gaspari out of the police station and left him in a dump behind the building.

On Thursday morning, the activist held a protest action at the Baghramyan-Demirchyan intersection in Yerevan – Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan's usual route to office – holding a poster with photos of those killed in the 2008 post-election clashes. Gaspari’s poster also read, “serzhik is a murderer, serzhik is a rascal.”

“Serzh Sargsyan just passed by with his entourage. Even if it wasn’t him, it was his motorcade, and his staff saw what one of Armenia’s citizens thinks about Sargsyan,” Gaspari stated.