YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The Sakharov Fund for Human Rights Protection addressed a letter to President Robert Kocharian in which it pointed out the need for rehabilitation of political prisoners–and persons prosecuted or convicted on obvious political charges–as well as the need to try those responsible for crimes.
It will be impossible to restore civil accord and solidarity and to establish real democracy in the country without solving the abovementioned problem first–the authors of the appeal asserted.
Stressing that "the former administration and some key leaders had framed a series of trials (in which dozens of innocent people were convicted)," the authors of the appeal maintained that the latter grew into real political trials and unmasked the orderers and the executors as well as their goals. Such trials include the reprisal against the former chief of the Department of Civil Aviation–Dmitry Atbashian–and his colleagues; the case of the former senior presidential advisor Vahan Avakian; the case of the first chairman of the Scientific-Industrial and Civic Union–Selena factory manager Gagik Grigorian; as well as the case of Mikael Manoukian who had been found guilty of murdering Hambartsum Galstian–tortured and convicted. Manoukian has not yet been acquitted.
The authors of the appeal also mentioned the charges in the "Dro" case and the "Trial of 31" against Armenian Revolutionary Federation members and the groundless verdicts returned by the judges. The authors also noted that during the 1996 presidential elections about 200 people were illegally arrested and all of them were subject to torture; and some were convicted. The foregoing cases are believed by the Fund to be nothing else than personal reprisal of bureaucrats against disagreeable people "by accusing them of drug and arms trafficking."
The authors of the statement urged the president to take control of the process of rehabilitation of citizens convicted in the abovementioned trials and not to leave it to the judgment of judicial bodies. "As obedient executors of the will of the former regime–they seem to be reluctant to correct their own mistakes and thereby redeem their fault," the letter said.