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Armenian Activists Claim Police Confiscated Leaflets


http://gdb.rferl.org/426be406-b1ea-4be8-90ab-073d443d9dfe_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/426be406-b1ea-4be8-90ab-073d443d9dfe_mw800_mh600.jpg (RFE/RL) August 20, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Armenian police stopped opposition activists from distributing leaflets during the official opening of the Pan-Armenian games in Yerevan on August 18.


A number of top government officials, including President Robert Kocharian, were at the opening of the weeklong games, which gather 2,500 amateur athletes from Armenia and the Armenian diaspora.


Vardges Gasparian, a representative of the opposition movement Aylentrank (Alternative), told RFE/RL's Armenian Service that three of the group's members were detained after distributing leaflets calling for the release of individuals they consider political prisoners. They were released only after the intervention of the Aylentrank leader Nikol Pashinian, according to Gasparian.


Zaruhi Postanjian, a lawyer and parliamentarian of the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, claimed police confiscated her bag of leaflets and other documents.


"One of them [police] grabbed my hand and took my bag," she said. "They said they wanted to talk to us and ordered us to follow them."


She claimed before her bag was confiscated, police had attempted to seize leaflets from her but retreated once they learned she was a parliament deputy. Postanjian has filed a complaint and is demanding that her documents be returned.


Police have declined comment on the alleged incidents, but said they are looking into Postanjian's allegations.

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