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So unbearably to be prisoner in Armenia19.07.2012 | 13:43
Ombudsman of Armenia Karen Andreasyan has sounded the alarm about the massive and systematic violations of human rights in prisons, police stations and military units of the republic.
The police frequently violates terms of detention of people who was invited for interrogation or arrested, the ombudsman Karen Andreasyan stated in his written appeal addressed to Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan. Andreasyan is basing on monitoring conducted at the police stations and detention centers in March-April this year.
In the course of monitoring there were recorded cases of severe attitude on the part of the police: psychological pressure, the use of electric shocks and severe beatings. "The detainees themselves told our monitoring group about this. In some cases, those detained in the police station people, were denied the opportunity to have a lawyer", said in the notice a defender of the ombudsman.
In the imprisonment facilities they often do not provide physical examination. There were cases when medical staff did not record prisoners' injuries. "In some prisons, overcrowding is 50%. In the cells for 15-16 prisoners there are only 12 beds. Prisoners sleep by turns. Poor conditions were recorded in military units", Karen Andreasyan said.
Violence is used to prove guilt
The police use violence against the detainees during the preliminary investigation in order to prove their guilt, to achieve recognition. This was stated in a conversation with GTimes reporter by the chairman of the Helsinki Committee of Armenia, a human rights activist Avetik Ishkhanyan, referring to the relevant reports of the various local and international human rights organizations on this issue.
Beatings and torture have become a kind of style of work of police officers, and the situation does not change for the better, even after the publication of the reports of international organizations. The report of the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment also has not helped. "In Armenia, they often violate three rights: they do not allow you to have a lawyer, get medical help and call relatives", human rights activist said, adding that until now the Armenian authorities have not taken significant action to remedy the situation.
According to Ishkhanyan, it's very difficult to detect cases of violence against prisoners by the staff of a penal colony. "It's pretty difficult to do this, because prisoners, as a rule, do not talk with the human rights defenders about domestic issues", he admitted.
Prisons in Armenia are severely overcrowded. The cells, designed for 8 inmates, are occupied by 20 people, Avetik Ishkhanyan said. Conditions of detention are unbearable. According to him, one of the overcrowded colonies is the "Nubarashen" penal colony. Of the 13 penal colonies only two ("Artik" and "Vanadzor") meet the international standards of detention. "All the other colonies are in pretty bad condition - ventilation in the cells is out of order, it is very stuffy in the cell in the summer, there are problems with food and so on", the human rights activist said.
He believes that there are four main reasons that give rise to the above problems. They are the low professionalism of law enforcement, unwillingness or inability to find new evidence to prove suspect's guilt, inappropriate control over the prosecutor's investigation and the indifferent attitude of courts to complaints about violations of the rights of the detainees. In addition, Ishkhanyan believes, the real problem is almost unconditional fulfillment by the courts of the prosecutor's demand about the use of arrest as a preventive measure, indicating the dependent status of the judiciary.
As a way out of this situation Ishkhanyan offers the use of alternative forms of punishment. He also advocates for reforming the so-called independent commissions on parole, which are quite subjective, as well as for the decrease in the percentage of arrests. "Now, the court satisfies almost 100% of the cases when the public prosecutor demands the use of arrest as a preventive measure", he concluded.