Below is an update on what has been going on regarding the killing of Vahe Avetyan. To reiterate: people are angry over the brutal beating and resulting death of Vahe Avetyan, a military doctor, at the hands of the bodyguards of Ruben Hayrapetyan. To increase the pressure for justice, there have been peaceful marches and protests held outside Ruben’s house and his restaurant.
Shockingly, Ruben Hayrapetyan made a personal appearance at one of those protests and hit in the face one of the protestors, a member of the Helsinki Association NGO. The Helsinki Association made a statement against the attack, calling it an attack against human rights defenders and demanding a criminal investigation. Fortunately, the police reviewed the evidence and are taking the case to court.
Unfortunately, the police have made an official statement that Hayrapetyan was not involved in the beatings, removing any chance of criminal liability associated with the killing (unless the bodyguards turn against him). Realistically, the police statement was almost a foregone conclusion, regardless of the calls for a fair trial and criminal punishment for Hayrapetyan from both locals and the Diaspora.
This week, I worked on a memo arguing that the Ombudsman has the right to demand and review evidence from closed investigations and provide recommendations to the Police. I don’t know if the Ombudsman is interested in using that power in this case as so far he has only made one public statement calling on the police to protect constitutional rights.
As an addition to what I mentioned earlier, Hayrapetyan decided to step down from parliament, however his resignation can’t be made official until the assembly official sits which won’t be for a period of time. Protests sought signatures from MPs for an emergency sitting but considering that the Republican’s are supporting him (calling him a “splendid person”) and many MPs are gone on vacation, the 44 signatures were impossible to get.
In completely unrelated news, the son of MP Nahapet Gevorgyan, was arrested this morning for an armed car-jacking, apparently because he didn’t want to wait in line to get gas. Both the son and the father have been involved in brutal beatings before. When will the reign of impunity for the oligarchs end?