On March 27 evening, 2020, during the state of exception declared in Armenia, Tigran Karapetyan drove to a supermarket in Malatia Sebastia district. He was with a friend in the car, which he allegedly drove too fast. After parking, he was approached by policemen in civilian clothing who did not present themselves, however started interrogation. Tigran claims that he was approached in a disrespectful manner and thought he was talking to men that wanted to offend him. Tigran responded to verbal offenses and a quarrel broke out to which the civilian dressed men responded by tossing him to their civilian car, hitting him along the way. He was later on put into the car and according to Tigran Karapetyan, two policemen were sitting on him, while he was laid face down in the car choking.
Photos of tortured Tigran Karapetyan broke into social media in late March after he got a lawyer who immediately spoke of police violence. According to lawyer Gurgen Hovhannisyan, Malatia district’s head of the criminal investigation department and head of police participated in Tigran’s humiliation and torture. At the police department, he was beaten, tossed on the floor, his head was repeatedly hit, they poured vodka on his head, he was sworn at and video taped. Tigran recalls that the policemen would swear at him and turn on the camera when he would respond to them with swears.
In an interview to Epress.am, Tigran recalls details of abuse against him and claims that he swore back at the police degrading him as would act any man with honor, but did not apply violence.
In return, Tigran was charged with criminal offenses of the stricter part of Article 316 of the Criminal Code – dangerous acts of violence against a representative of the state punishable by 5-10 years of imprisonment. The police has its own account of the story by which Tigran was violent against police officers and as a “proof” they published an edited video when Tigran was swearing while moments of police officers swearing and hitting him were edited.
Tigran says that he was only trying to free himself from being strangled and the official “scratch” on a police officer’s face based on which his offence is made, might have been a result of irregular movements he made in the car to be able to breathe.
Forensic examination of Tigran himself found out that his cheek bone was broken, there were bruises on various parts of his body. Lawyer Hovhannisyan has filed a complaint of torture to the Special Investigative Service where an investigation is currently ongoing. Hovhannisyan also does not agree with the forensic examination’s results and has demanded a second one.
In the meanwhile, Tigran Karapetyan has been released on bail that came with a high sacrifice to a family with no money. Tigran’s family members had to sell a small plot of land on which Tigran planned to build a house for his young family and paid 1.5mln AMD bail at the end of April.
Tigran Karapetyan claims that he is willing to “pay the price” for any wrongdoing he may have done, such as driving fast or being drunk but nothing can justify police torture and the fact that the heavy criminal offense was simply cooked up against him.