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Armenian Rights Activist Acquitted Of Assault On Police

Arshaluys Hakobian
Arshaluys Hakobian
An Armenian human rights activist who spent more than four months in prison has been acquitted of charges relating to an alleged dispute with police based on a request from prosecutors, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Arshaluys Hakobian, who is a member of the Armenian Helsinki Association (AHA), was arrested on June 5 after a confrontation with two police officers.

The officers had come to his Yerevan apartment to deliver a summons, apparently in connection with a complaint Hakobian had filed alleging intimidation by government loyalists during the May 31 local elections.

He was unexpectedly released from custody in October, and his acquittal came on February 5.

The police officers claimed Hakobian punched one of the policemen and slapped the other after they "reprimanded" him for being drunk and signing the document incorrectly.

Hakobian denied the charges and said he was forcibly taken to the police department in Yerevan's Kentron district and beaten for protesting the officers' refusal to leave his apartment.

On February 5, state prosecutors recommended that the case be closed for lack of evidence. Judge Gagik Avetisian agreed and declared Hakobian not guilty.

Armenian Helsinki Association Chairman Mikael Danielian told RFE/RL that "the political order issued by the authorities hasn't worked," and added that his group will only be fully satisfied when the authorities prosecute the policemen who allegedly mistreated Hakobian.