YEREVAN — Armenia continues to see gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, according to the Helsinki Association.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, the Association’s Chairman Michael Danielyan introduced its 2010 report on the human rights situation in the country. He said the authorities had failed to comply with the requirements proposed by the PACE’s 2008-2009 resolutions on Armenia.
Even though authorities released several activists detained after the March 1, 2008 post-electoral disorders, nine people are still in prison, the authors of the document say, adding that those individuals are considered political prisoners under international criteria. They further refer to police violence at demonstrations, when several people were taken to police stations facing restrictions on free movement.
The authors also voice concerns over violence against journalists and attempts to prevent them from disseminating information. The particularly focus on the reported cases of violence against the jailed editor-in-chief of Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper, Nikol Pashinyan (October-November, 2010).
Further concerns relate to continuing torture at police departments. In that context, special attention is given to the case of Vahan Khalafyan who was beaten to death at Charentsavan’s police department in April 2010.
The authors have also observed serious flaws in the court system. One of the association’s experts, Nina Karabekyants noted in that connection that court decisions are mainly restricted to indictments, with the prosecution statements becoming reprinted in the court rulings.
The document further refers to three cases of torture in the army.
The authors also point out to the increased number of corrupt practices in penitentiaries. Arsen Babayan, another expert of the organization, expressed concerns over the situation of detainees with health problems.
”People complain they are being ignored. They complain of deteriorated health condition while the Hospital for Detainees is half-empty, for some reason,” he said.
The authors further say that all but one of the penitentiary institutions (Artik) badly need repairs.
Some 38 people reportedly died in penitentiaries last year, with 32 suffering various health problems.

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