Yerevan resident Karineh Mkrtoumyan called Hetq today claiming that employees of the Compulsory Enforcement Service (CES) entered her apartment through the window in an attempt to evict her and her elderly mother.
It seems that the mother was too afraid to open the door when the bailiffs came knocking.
Their apartment was purchased via an online auction by Izabella Mkrtoumyan, a relative who lives next door.
Karineh has been living in the apartment since the 1960s when it was bequeathed to her by her father.
For the past ten years, three families of Mkrtoumyans have been battling it out for the rights to the apartment.
After receiving Karineh’s call, this reporter visited the apartment on Aghayan Street in Yerevan and witnessed CES employees taking an inventory of the property.
When I asked the CES official in charge, Gagik Hovhannisyan, where their belongings would wind up, he said it would go to a warehouse and that the owners would have to pay three times the value to retrieve it.
Upon hearing this, Karineh said she couldn’t afford such an expense and decided to transfer their apartment belongings to a friend’s house in the country.
“This stuff isn’t important, but rather their attitude towards citizens. Sure, they have everything well organized to transfer the household items but they have no thought for the people living inside,” Karineh complained, adding that she had no idea where she and her elderly sick mother would go.
“They are evicting us just like they did to the Armenians in Baku,” Karineh said.
Karineh Mkrtoumyan hinted that Armenia’s Deputy Energy Minister Areg Galstyan, a relative of theirs, was somehow involved the eviction. Karineh said that Galstyan has shares in the Izabella Mkrtoumyan’s flat and that the official had told her [Karineh] that he would evict her.
“I have worked as a teacher for thirty years but haven’t saved anything to buy anything. How was Izabella able to buy this apartment through an online auction when she’s never worked?”, Karineh exclaimed, again pointing a finger at deputy minister Galstyan.
Right now, Karineh’s legal suit to have the auction declared null is pending at the Civil Appeals Court. But this isn’t enough to have the eviction process halted. Only a court decision can do it.
The CES official told me that Karineh and her mother have money from their share of the sale in the CES depository. However, Karineh says they were never properly notified in order to use the money to purchase another apartment even though the sale occurred last December.
They claim that they only learnt today that the other shareholders received their money at the beginning of January.
Karineh and her mother don’t know where they will go tonight.
“My father gifted this apartment to me so that I could spend my senior years safely. But in Armenia, they can easily deprive a person of their paternal home,” Karineh said.