Armenian Police Accused Of Beating Up Another Lawyer

Another Armenian lawyer on Tuesday claimed to have been beaten up by police officers while representing a criminal suspect.

The lawyer, Karen Alaverdian, said he was subjected to “undue physical force,” handcuffed and detained after trying to stop several officers kicking and punching his client at a police station in Yerevan last week.

The Armenian police launched an internal inquiry into the incident. Nevertheless, Alaverdian was charged with “hooliganism” and obstruction of legitimate police actions.

The lawyer said that he simply refused to leave the police station after intervening to stop the alleged torture of his client who is currently standing trial on unspecified criminal charges.

The chairman of Armenia’s Chamber of Advocates, the national bar association, voiced support for Alaverdian and said the police had no right to evict him from the police station during the suspect’s interrogation. “The lawyer did his job,” Simon Babayan told a joint news conference with Alaverdian.

Two other lawyers claimed to have been ill-treated at another Yerevan police station in February. They said the violence occurred after their teenage client stood by his allegations that he was beaten up in police custody.

The Chamber of Advocates demanded at the time that law-enforcement authorities investigate the allegations and prosecute “all guilty persons.” No police officer is known to have been charged, fired or subjected to disciplinary action over that incident.

Human rights activists say police torture in Armenia remains widespread despite police reforms declared by the Armenian government.