Notorious pimp Amalia Mnatsakanyan has been released after serving only one month of a two-year sentence. "Mother Pimp Nano", as she is known to law enforcement officials, had been wanted by Interpol. Arrested in the United Arab Emirates, she was transferred to Armenian custody in March 2004. In August, Judge Pargev Ohanyan the Kentron and Nork-Marash Districts of Yerevan sentenced Nano to two years in prison term. By September, she was free.
Someone should ask Prosecutor General Aghvan Hovsepyan if it was worth launching an Interpol investigation, and dragging in the foreign ministries and law enforcement agencies of Armenia and the UAE if she was such a harmless criminal that a month in jail was al she deserved.
And they should ask Justice Minister David Harutiunyan how it happened that Mnatsakanyan, who had been jailed twice before, was released so long before the end of her prison term.
If these questions had been raised at the last prosecution committee meeting, maybe it would have come out why trafficking occupies such a special place in the legal system. Maybe Aghvan Hovsepyan would have explained how the agency he runs was so easy on Nano, who has already sold hundreds of girls and is still recruiting more, to send them to the UAE and Turkey.
According to our sources, another notorious pimp, Marietta Musaelyan, is soon to be released from prison as well, before the end of her two-year sentence. Her victims, who are without their passports, are working as prostitutes in Dubai today.
We don't think it would be hard for the prosecutor general to find out who is standing behind these pimps.
At the prosecutor general's March 16 th committee meeting, they reported on what they've done so far to combat trafficking in women. At first glance, the numbers are impressive; there have been dozens of investigations, arrests, and trials. But, surprisingly, after such a titanic amount of work, human traffic is growing like never before, and more women are being sold in Arabic countries all the time.
"There [in Dubai] a pimp is protected by the police and by the 'authorities' [criminal gangs]. They have their own laws, and there are some problems," said Andranik Mirzoyan, head of the investigative department of the Prosecutor's General Office. "Even, dare I say it, the local government is in some way interested, because to run a given club, or a given restaurant, they need that type of personnel [prostitutes], so that people will come." Under Mirzoyan's leadership, a team of investigators had gone to Dubai, but it was difficult, he informed the committee, to locate the pimps and prostitutes and bring them in. He added that investigators had tried to persuade the women to return with them to Armenia, where they would be arrested.
We are aware that prosecutors met in Dubai with several Armenian pimps, among them those wanted by Interpol. It is strange that the officials tried to "persuade" the pimps to come back to Armenia, rather than informing the local police.
But, as we were told by one of these pimps and the Armenian prostitutes who work for them, nobody said anything at these meetings about the pimps' returning to Armenia.
Perhaps the prosecutor's office needs to find out, for example, what kind of deal its representative, Aristakes Eremyan, struck with Ano, or Anahit, from Echmiadzin.
At the committee meeting, the prosecutor general voiced his support for harsher sentences, and criticized judges for being too lenient. No one asked him, however, why he hadn't challenged any of the lenient rulings.
Looking into the court cases dealing with pimping and trafficking, you see that they are resolved after the first hearing. Other types of cases, however, are heard up to three times. How does it happen, then, that neither side in the trafficking cases ever appeals the judge's decision? Neither the prosecution nor the defense is ever dissatisfied-this is one area where an agreement is always reached immediately.