Freed Oppositionist To Appeal To European Court

An opposition activist who has spent more than two years in jail said on Wednesday that he will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against his controversial imprisonment by Armenian law-enforcement authorities.

Tigran Arakelian, a leader of the youth wing of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), was set free in October immediately after Armenia’s Court of Appeals partially cleared him of assault charges and shortened from six to three years a prison sentence given to him by a lower court. The ruling made Arakelian eligible for a general amnesty that was declared by the Armenian authorities.

The amnesty was also applied to three other HAK activists who clashed, together with Arakelian, with police officers in downtown Yerevan in August 2011 under disputed circumstances. Unlike Arakelian, they remained at large pending a final court verdict on the high-profile case.

All four men have strongly denied attacking policemen throughout the criminal and judicial proceedings. They say that they themselves were beaten up and detained after the policemen tried to arbitrarily search another man.

The activists demanded later in 2013 their full acquittal by the Court of Cassation, the highest body of criminal justice in the country. The court threw out their appeals, however.

Arakelian condemned this ruling and said he will now “definitely” take his to the Strasbourg-cased court

The HAK has all along regarded Arakelian as a political prisoner. Armen Khachatrian, a senior representative of the opposition party, insisted on Wednesday that all Armenian court rulings in the case were illegal and politically motivated. “This is one of the cases where ‘justice’ was expedited in the offices of the government authorities,” he claimed.