Thursday, November 13, 2008

Update on Mr. Manukyan



Mr. Manukyan's trial has been scheduled and then delayed in the
courtroom for the last month. You can follow the time-line of the
charade below. This is how oppressive regimes keep their power:
by totally exhausting all hope and crushing the spirit of those that
are brave enough to fight for a decent country.

• November 13: Trial delayed until November 20th

• November 7: Trial delayed until November 13th

• November 3: Trial delayed until November 7th.

• October 29: Attorney calls in sick, trial postponed until November 3rd.

• October 23: Trial postponed until October 29th.

• October 15: Mr. Manukyan is charged with organizing an unauthorized
illegal public demonstration. The court heard testimony from one
witness, an individual who had previously pled guilty to a crime
relating to the March 1 incident. He had received a suspended sentence
for his own conviction. In a series of investigation statements
(before trial) the witness stated that he had received approximately
$60 from the defendant and that the witness had used the money to bus
people into Yerevan for the unauthorized demonstrations at the
direction of the defendant. At the trial the witness stated that he
had received money from the defendant as part of the opposition
campaign, but that the defendant never directed him to use the money
for the demonstrations. Unfortunately, the judges in Armenia often
base guilty verdicts on pre-trial investigation statements even where
the witness comes into court and recants on his prior statement. The
court was to hear from two other witnesses. One failed to show up and
the other is incarcerated. The court is attempting to bring the
incarcerated witness to the trial. The defense counsel made a motion
to release Mr. Manukyan but the court denied the motion. The trial to
resume Oct. 23.

• October 6: Trial postponed at the last minute due to lack of
prosecution witnesses.

• September 17: Two witnesses testified – both police officers. One
testified as the "victim" and the other as a "witness". Per a US
official who attended the trial: "The bad news is that this case
clearly demonstrates, even assuming that the defendant is completely
guilty, that the authorities are out to get him. He took part in the
demonstration and he (allegedly) threw a rock that hit a cop in the
foot. Minimal injury at worst. This is really no big deal".

• September 9: The defense attorney made a motion to disqualify the
two prosecutors working on the case. That motion was denied by the
judge. The case is moved to the higher felony and adjourned to Sept.
17 to hear from the victim / police officer.

• July 29: The prosecutor seeks an adjournment to upgrade the charges
to more serious felonies, punishable by 5 to 10 years imprisonment.
At the prosecutor's request the court adjourned the case for four
weeks.

• July 15: After 4 months in 'pre-detention', a trial date is finally
scheduled. The court date is later cancelled at the last minute due
to lack of witnesses.

• March 1: Ashot Manukyan is beaten and arrested at dawn after 11 days
of peaceful protest of a corrupt election. He is taken to Nubereshen
detention center and not allowed to see his family for over a month –
until his wounds heal.

1 comment:

Garen said...

Thanks for posting this information, Tzitzernak2. Our paryers are with these victims of State repressions against these individuals who at least had the courage and the will to stand up against injustice and this reigning surreal absurdity.