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Armenia – FIDH, Civil Society Institute and the Armenian Helsinki Committee call on the authorities to investigate and re-open Levon Gulyan's case

12.05.2011

Paris- Yerevan, May 12, 2011 - May 12, 2011, will mark the fourth anniversary of the tragic death of Levon Gulyan, who died at the Police headquarters of Yerevan as he was testifying in a murder case. So far no one has been brought to justice in this case.

Mr. Gulyan spent three days at the police station before he died, he was not suspected or accused of committing any illegal action.  There were signs of violence on his body. Considering the above, our organisations suspect that before falling out of the window, Levon Gulyan was tortured and mistreated by the police1.

On March 21, 2011, the Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Armenia closed the criminal case on Levon Gulyan's death for the third time without any further investigation. This is in strong contradiction with the official statement made by the Armenian Court of Cassation on August 27, 2010, in which it announced its decision to "eliminate the violations of the rights and the freedoms of a person during the pre-trial investigation".

"The Armenian State should re-open the case regarding the death of Levon Gulyan and conduct an impartial and independent investigation on the circumstances of his death. The lack of a full investigation on this case undermines the trust of Armenian citizens in the judicial system" said Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President. In addition, she stressed in a public statement2 that "this specific case is not isolated in Armenia. All other cases of mistreatment and torture should also be publicly denounced".

In the absence of such an investigation, the Armenian authorities could be held accountable for the death of Levon Gulyan as long as the perpetrators have not been identified, as the European Court of Human Rights has already concluded in similar cases (ie Velikov v. Bulgaria, Angelova v. Bulgaria).

FIDH, its member organisation CSI and the Armenian Helsinki Committee call on the Armenian authorities to:

  • Open a new, transparent and efficient investigation into the circumstances of the death of Levon Gulyan;
  • Bring to justice those responsible for his death;
  • Fully conform with the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as well as European Convention on the Prevention of Torture and the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which impose an obligation to investigate and prosecute allegations of torture.

1 See FIDH press releases of 2007 http://www.fidh.org/Armenia-Witness-to-a-shooting-dies-in-custody and 2009   http://www.fidh.org/JOINT-PRESS-RELEASE-International-Federation-for

2 See FIDH video : http://www.fidh.org/-Videos,1396-