Police colonel Nelly Duryan, head of the Armenian police’s Department for Juvenile Rights and Combating Domestic Violence, did not take a liking to the allegation that police inaction contributes to the recurrence of domestic violence against women in Armenia.
On January 19, the Yerevan-based Coalition to Stop Violence against Women organized a screening of the new film by journalist Tehmine Yenokyan, which tells the stories of several victims of domestic violence. In the film, the abused women insist that police’s indifference often contributed to the violence they were subjected to.
After the screening, colonel Duryan announced in an offended tone that the use of the word “contribute” in the film was not appropriate, and that the police should only be expected to carry out the functions assigned to them by law. “The police are doing what they can,” she added.
Commenting on the story of Taguhi Mansuryan, a Yerevan woman whose former husband attacked her and her parents with an axe in July, 2016, Duryan noted that prior to the incident, the police had received 8 reports from the scene and had “promptly responded” to each one of them. “The investigative body, along with the courts, is responsible for the further developments in the case,” the colonel insisted.
In the film, Mansuryan says that on the day of the incident, her former husband once again came to her parents’ house with threats and tried to force himself inside. The family called the police, and the officers who subsequently arrived at the scene took Taguhi and her mother to the police station for questioning, leaving the former husband behind. Afterwards, the officers brought the women back to their apartment building.
“As a gesture of good will, the officers brought Taguhi and her mother back to their house, so that they were not left on the street at midnight,” Duryan observed.
Meanwhile, Mansuryan continues in the film that when the police brought them back, her mother asked the officers to escort them to their apartment since she was afraid that her former son-in-law, Vladik Martirosyan, might had been waiting for them. According to Taguhi, the officers did not even exit the car; they simply looked around the yard from the car windows and told the women to “just go; there’s nothing to be afraid of.” Taguhi’s former husband, however, attacked the women with an axe at the door to their apartment, killing his former mother-in-law and seriously injuring Taguhi.
Mansuryan’s lawyer, Inessa Petrosyan – also present at the screening – stated that the police “definitely have their share of guilt” in the murder of Mansuryan’s mother. “This tragedy occurred as a result of improper police conduct,” she insisted.
After the attack, Petrosyan continued, Taguhi’s father, Vachagan Mansuryan, phoned the police, and his first words uttered to them were: “Is this what you wanted?”
“This is what the police have to give an assessment of,” the lawyer said, adding that in the recording of the call, it can be heard that the police officer swears at Taguhi’s father when the latter tries to tell him about the attack. “This is the true face of the police. Yes, the police did indeed contribute to the tragedy,” Petrosyan concluded.