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Zaruhi Mejlumyan

Information "Closed" to News Media Made Available with Human Rights Defender's Intervention

Hetq contacted RA Human Rights Defender Karen Andreasyan, alerting him to the fact that various state departments are not providing requested information and thus, violating news media's right to receive information. This specifically refers to the legal system. The requested information was denied with standard replies: no such statistics are kept.

There are Statistics on Necessary Self-Defense

Hetq wanted to know how many times a year on average is RA Criminal Code Article 42 (necessary defense, which was applied in the case of former Syunik Regional Governor Surik Khachatryan's son and bodyguard) applied as grounds to terminate criminal prosecution. We wanted to ascertain and present to the public whether Tigran Khachatrayn and Zarzand Nikoghosyan are the only ones who are self-protected in Armenia or not. 

From nearly all the appropriate state bodies Hetq received the same answer: "We don't keep such statistics."

But it turns out there are such statistics. In answer to his question, RA Ombudsman Karen Andreasyan received from the same general investigative department of the police a letter, according to which between 2009–2013, three criminal case proceedings were quashed on the basis of RA Criminal Code Article 42 (in 2009, 2010, and 2012). "In one case, the individual operated in the state of necessary defense; in two cases, exceeding the limits of necessary defense," reads the letter sent to Karen Andreasyan, which he addressed to Hetq. 

There are Also Statistics on Early Conditional Release

Hetq contacted the Human Rights Defender also on the application of  early conditional release (according to several Criminal Code articles) with the aim of receiving information (taking into account prisoners' complaints directed to the editorial office on early conditional release not being applied). To make a comparative analysis, we had noted two years: 2006 (when the institution of independent commissions was newly established) and 2013. Note, until then, the Penitentiary Service of the RA Ministry of Justice had replied to Hetq that no statistics were kept on those released early on parole, according to Criminal Code articles. 

However, the RA Ministry of Justice informed Karen Andreasyan that, for example, in 2006, of those sentenced under the charge of RA Criminal Code Article 104 (murder), 43 were released on parole, while in 2013, only 1 person charged with murder was released on parole. 

Information About Lifers Also Became Available

Through the Ombudsman, we also received information about 102 people serving life in prison in Armenia. In particular, what year was the individual sentenced, by which court, when was the start of the punishment, and whether the prisoner had a prior sentence or not. This information was also closed to news media

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