Ill-treatment of Oppositional Youth Activists

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has stepped in and wrote a letter to the President of the Court of Cassation to raise attention to alleged ill-treatment of seven prisoners. These prisoners are youth activists connected with the political opposition and were arrested on August 9, 2011. Because of the alleged police abuse these youth suffered and because of the political undertones, the Armenian National Congress has been organizing protests and have called for their release. The HRW letter details the evidence of the ill-treatment they are alleged to have suffered.

HRW is not trying to convince the Court of Cassation to be lenient or give them freedom, but to inquire why the prosecutor’s office did no investigation into the ill-treatment and to order such an investigation. We should hear the Court’s verdict tomorrow. To be realistic, if the Court of Cassation does not order an investigation, these victims will very likely win if they take their case to the European Court of Human Rights.

As a point of clarification, when a human rights person is using the term ill-treatment, it often means torture and generally means cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. Both illegal under international law. The reason Human Rights Watch or other human rights people use the euphemism is because only a judge can determine if the alleged actions violate the law.

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