The Armenian Bar Association is deeply concerned about the lack of due process in the continued detention of opposition politician Avetik Chalabyan. As a first-time defendant in a non-violent case, his pretrial detention in prison – now more than two months – shows a flagrant disregard for due process guarantees and the rule of law. In accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Armenia and internationally accepted human rights standards, detention is not permitted where there is a reasonable basis to conclude that alternative pre-trial measures, such as bail, house arrest or travel restrictions, would be inadequate. The accused argues that the case and this disproportionate pre-trial detention are politically motivated, pointing out that the prosecution has not demonstrated and that the court has not set out a “reasonable basis” for this detention. Even more troubling, the case of Chalabyan is not an isolated case of these shortcomings in the administration of justice in recent years.
Over the past three decades, the Republic of Armenia has committed itself, under its own national legislation and international treaties, to respecting and upholding internationally recognized principles protecting human rights and guaranteeing the rule of law: fair trial, presumption of innocence, decision-making based on evidence in the public record and non-interference of political forces in the judicial process. The Armenian Bar Association calls on the authorities to ensure due process for this defendant and others, to protect human rights as they have pledged to do and to uphold the rule of law.