Friday, April 2, 2010

Update on Ashot Manukyan -or- Its Time for the Regime to Go

I received the update below regarding the status of political prisoner Ashot Manukyan. I have posted it verbatim (except for the attached links, whose format I changed), with my comments below.

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Ashot Manukyan, still imprisoned for fighting against the hijacking of Armenia, has won a slight battle today. The Court of Cassation (Constitutional court) has found that one of the laws the prosecution had used is unlawful. They remanded the case to the Supreme Court. Mr. Manukyan has been in jail for 2 years already.

There is a current initiative that should be passed only with the commitment of the Armenia lobby to push for an end to this regime (or at least its practices). The Dept of Defense should not open Armenia as a procurement option for Afghan operations (see the proposed amendment to the DFARs). This money will only be stolen.

Unfortunately, there has been no help from the Diaspora lobby. Case in point, at the Policy Forum Armenia seminar held at Georgetown last month, leaders and academics joined to discuss the possibilities of Diaspora-Hayastan relations. Each speaker had well-thought ideas, but NONE dared mention the elephant in the room: the absolute corruption of the present Oligarchy and the uselessness of moving forward without a serious regime change. audio link

Here is an article that proceeded the decision today:

The political prisoner Ashot Manukyan challenged the constitutionality of Article 309.1 of the RA Criminal Code at the Constitutional Court, which allows prosecutors to take back the accusation from the Court, make it more severe, and then resubmit it.
62 year old painter Ashot Manukyan is sentenced to six years imprisonment for his involvement in the events of March 1, 2008. This past Tuesday, the CC was scheduled to consider the appeal by Manukyan and make a decision. At the conclusion of two hours of discussions, the members of the CC decided to restart the deliberation of the appeal. The reason for this was that CC President Gagik Harutyunyan was absent, and the other 8 members of the CC were unable to reach a decision without him. This means that the CC decision, and therefore whether the political prisoner is freed or not, depends on Gagik Harutyunyan.

article link
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This may have some potential to be some progress in the case, a small step forward maybe, but if this step is at all consistent with this regime's actions to date, it will be circular and unethical - any steps made will be for show. I would absolutely love for this regime to prove me wrong, and free Mr Manukyan as well as all of the political prisoners... but even that would be just a start to the change that is needed. But it would be an important start.

And of course, I love the idea that Diasporan organizations would organize and pressure the US and other western governments with the goal of supporting Armenia, a real, free and independent Armenia. But that is almost less likely than Sargsyan switching places with Mr Manukyan, himself. Again, though, I'd love to be proven wrong on this one.

I must say, however, that while I was not at the PFA meeting and have not yet had a chance to read what is available from the meeting (so my commentary on the meeting is limited), PFA is one of the only armenian organizations based outside of Armenia that has been critical of this regime, and has published informed, analytic pieces that challenge so many aspects of the criminal regime that has taken Armenia hostage. In contrast, well established organizations, the AAA, ANCA, church, AGBU and the rest of such groups have kept quiet, if not openly supported the regime, or some aspect of it.

All in all, what is this regime showing by putting a 62 year old man, a painter, in prison for his politics? The same thing it shows when it beats children, abuses women, and shoots at its own people- and more recently sells out not only its present, but past and future to save its own behind- it has to go.

1 comment:

nazarian said...

I don't know what's going to happen to Ashot Manukian. The constitutional court had a bizarre verdict on the case his lawyers had presented.