Sunday, April 19, 2009

Alik Arzumanyan's trials... and tribulations...

I first drew and uploaded this picture on April 17, 2008. Just over one year later, it's still relevant.

The two new court sessions of Alik Arzumanyan and Suren Sirunyan leave so many questions to be answered, the least of which why there has been such minimal media coverage of the sessions. The most important questions, of course, are about the complete absurdity, ridiculousness, and inanity of many of the witnesses so far.
In the first court session, only 3 of the 5 witnesses showed up (total 15 planned). The first two had nothing negative to say about Arzumanyan (from the Opposition)- the second one (Tigran Hakobyan) said he was saddenned that trials such as these were taking place in today's independent Armenia. The prosecutor stated that there were discrepancies between Hakobyan's pre-court and court statements - but the defender pointed out that such discrepancies didn't exist. In fact, in the 8page statement that Piloyan (the prosecutor) read, neither Arzumanyan nor Sirunyan were mentioned once.
The third witness was surprising to say the least. Even the radio commentators were completely surprised by that witness, and the court audience laughed through some of his testimony and answers (Tert even published that it was obvious that this witness had psychological problems). He stated that opposition leaders had been places and made speeches where it is known they absolutely weren't (LTP, Nikol Pashinyan, Arzumanyan)- according to this witness, LTP was out speaking to the public (at the Myasnikyan statue) on March 1, when everyone knows he was under house arrest, and that Arzumanyan definitely amde a speech when it is known he didn't. When confronted with that fact, the witness was totally surprised and confused. And while he stated the written testimony was his, he couldn't understand or define two of the words that were in his "own" testimony. He admitted to having been paid to work for the government, in March 2008 and prior to that.
The second court session was on the 17th, and there was a similar replay of events. One of the witnesses' account completely fell apart - she said she had seen the looting, but couldn't say where she was standing at the time. Then it turned out she was 500 meters away. Then she finally said she couldn't see it well at all, only from far away. She was over a month off in saying when she gave her original testimony to the police (March 3 vs April 29). She couldn't say what time she had seen Arzumanyan at the statue, or what he had supposedly said as she couldn't hear because she was too far away, with many inconsistencies in her story. She then stated she couldn't really remember since it was over a year ago, she has been sick for three years, and she had been in two comas since then.
A different witness revealed that Alik Arzumanyan had asked him to rent a place in town so some of the opposition leaders could gather there. Another witness pointed out that he had been asked to bring a portable heater from work to the tents - but when it didn't work, he took it back. As was pointed out on the radio segment, whether any wrongdoing has been done by Arzumanyan was not addressed on April 17th -he has not been charged with asking for a heater, or having a meeting. One of the witnesses stated he had been taken in with some other men, beaten up, and been told what to write in his statement.
April 20th was the third session. Again, the two witnesses in court today noted that it had been over a year, and they didn't remember things too well. One of the witnesses didn't recognize Arzumanyan at all, and had left the Myasnikyan statue early. She also stated she had seen Nikol Pashinyan at the statue, at a time when it is known Pashinyan was not there. Multiple other inconsistencies were noted as well (including the witness' incorrect description of Sirunyan's appearance and timing), very similar to the ones pointed out on the previous days. Beglaryan (one of the witnesses) stated that she did not write the statement, and that others had written it based on what she had said. The other witness said he had written the statement, but what he had said was altered to sound more literate/articulate.
Don't get me wrong. I don't completely blame these individuals. In fact, I'm not sure I really blame them at all. No one should be put in a position where they have to chose between putting bread on the table and making false statements. As the witness on April 15th pointed out when asked if he is paid by the government/works for them: I need to make a living, don't I? They are just pawns of the government, victims, in a way, of a government which seems to be preying on the sick (the second one had disability of the second or third degree), and the poor. Both of whom they helped create, and continue to create. Which, I suppose, will provide the present banditocracy with even more pawns to manipulate as they continue to oppress the people even more.
Which brings me to my main questions.
Why isn't this being covered more in the press?
Ten of 15 witness to be called have already testified at this point, with many of the major points highlighted above. I don't know the court and justice systems too well in Armenia. But you'd think the prosecution would be able to bring forth at least one witness who can see, remember, hear, or make some type of sense, if their case had any credibility at all. Which it doesn't.

April 15 Azatutyun Radio link: 5:17 to 11:15 minutes

April 17th Azatutyun Radio link: 5:17 - 11:47 minutes

April 20th, 19:00: 2:50- 10:08

Tert article April 15

RFE/RL in Armenian April 20

1 comment:

Ani said...

I think this perfectly sums up the Armenian court witness system: