The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), on September 14, issued a decision in favor of Alik Matevosyan, a former soldier serving in the Armenian army, who had been indicted of murdering another soldier, and imprisoned.
The case dates back to April 29, 2006, when the body of solider Aghvan Harutyunyan found hanging from a tree in the forest adjacent to an Armenian army base.
Matevosyan and another soldier, Rafik Harutyunyan were charged with the murder, and sentenced to 12 and 15 years respectively.
Alik Matevosyan’s lawyer appealed the guilty verdict and the case bumped around in various Armenian courts for eleven years, from 2006-2017.
In his petition filed with the ECHR, Matevosyan’s lawyer, Harutyun Baghdasaryan argued that the defendants were tortured by law enforcement officials to extract culpable testimony. Baghdasaryan says that his client was indicted based on the testimony forcibly extracted from his co-defendant Rafik Harutyunyan.
Baghdasaryan says that his client was tortured as well.
“Alik told me that they tied his hands to a radiator and beat him to the point that he wanted to die,” Baghdasaryan told Hetq.
The ECHR, in its decision, found that, the authorities [in Armenia] failed to carry out an effective investigation into the applicant’s allegations of ill-treatment, and there has accordingly been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention.”
Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights prohibits torture, and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The ECHR’s decision obligates Armenia to pay the applicant EUR 6,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.
Attorney Harutyunyan told Hetq that those using torture to extract unfavorable testimony from those charged with various crimes are well-known, but are never held accountable. Thus, he argues, such individuals are carrying out orders from above and are providing a valuable service to political authorities in Armenia.
Photo: Attorney Harutyun Baghdasaryan