Human rights activist Mika Danielyan attacked by former leader of ultra-right party

Upon hearing the news, that there’s been an attack on the head of Armenia’s Helsinki Association Mikael Danielyan, my first reaction was, that it must be related to his interview to A1plus yesterday, where the breave human right’s activist was criticizing the activities of the Armenian law enforcement bodies in addressing the demands of the PACE Resolution 1609, related to the release of “political prisoners”, and noting, that the Armenian authorities are following the example of Azerbaijan, which did not release its political prisoners even after a PACE Resolution.
There was another attack on Mika Danialyan back in 2004, which was never properly investigated, and the human rights defender claimed, that the offenders back then were connected to Armenian special services. Today, as reported by A1plus, at around 3:00, when walking along the pavement with a friend, Mikayel Danilyan had stopped to salute a friend, when a BMW had started signalling from behind. Then, in response to Danielian’s inquiry, as to what the signalling meant, a fellow had come off the car, calling the human rights activist a “CIA agent” and “defender of gay rights”. According to A1plus, “Afterwards, he took out a gun and shot at Danielian’s chest. Fortunately, the wound wasn’t serious as according to the preliminary investigation the criminal had shot from a gas pistol.”
A friend of mine who visited Mika Danielyan at the Police Department noted, that Danielyan was feeling all right, and was giving evidence to the police. He also noted, that Tigran Urikhanyan, former leader of the ultra-right “Progressive Party”, was also in the police department – and apparently he was the offender.
What I am most concerned in this story, is that nobody seems to take it serious. I am sure, that the police will try to hush up the matter, and state connected Tigran Urikhanyan will happily walk away, while the human rights activist, who is known for his criticism of the Authorities, will be left crying for justice. All the likes of Urikhanyan will see it as a “sign of heroism” to attack human rights activists, call them spies, verbally abuse them. Yet another signal will be sent out, that people striving for human rights are second class citizens, especially if they’re criticizing the state machine. The society will see once again, that when even the rights of human rights defenders are not protected – what could they expect for themselves? Yet in another example, we will see human rights and democracy harassed in this country. Is there a solution? I guess not…

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. If you study the early history of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy ( this is before the WW2) you can see lots of similarities.
    At that time as well such things were not taken seriously. In the contrary, they were called ‘heroism’ as you have very accurately wrote.
    I really don’t like this.
    If so far we witnessed rogue criminality (e.g. killing of Poghos Poghosian) now we are witnessing the rise of fascism.
    What happens in the court rooms now days fit in within this pattern. This is very alarming.

  2. Observer, you are, unfortunately, right in your last paragraph… Even if there is some debate on the issue, it will quickly degenerate into diatribes about “foreign funded fifth-wheel so-called human rights defenders”, etc., instead of upholding the fundamental principles of justice and rule of law EVEN by those who cannot stand Mr. Danielayn personally! If the last scenario played out there could be some hope for our political culture development in near-term, but recall what happened even to a politically neutral case of Levon Gulyan. Nothing! To the great delight of the regime puppets. If there was any agitation about Danielyan’s case, those same puppets would spring up to the “defense of the state” (as ridiculous as it sounds, coming from professional sycophants) and, as you correctly noted, would “attack human rights activists, call them spies, verbally abuse them”…

  3. Just add to your post,that the friend of Mika Artsru Babayan accepted that they were drunk. Furthermore,someone from US Embassy was on the spot just after 10 minutes.No comments.
    For me,this story is good PR for both sides.

  4. Just add to your post,that the friend of Mika Artsru Babayan accepted that they were drunk.
    Totally irrelevant. Being drunk doesn’t violate any civil or criminal laws.
    Shooting a person does. However, you prefer to discuss the former, and not
    the later.
    Furthermore,someone from US Embassy was on the spot just after 10 minutes.No comments.
    Uuuuuu! The world is comspiring against Armenia! Uuuuu!!

  5. Areg I prefer to discuss reality. The story according to a1plus is completely one-sided.
    I am not fond of Urikhanyan,but I don’t like when information is presented only from side of Danielyan.
    Of course shooting is bad. But,this is the first time I heard that embassy man is running to save shooted human being. That’s point. It means that Mika is also privileged person.

  6. Tigran
    It is not the first time when an embassy gets involved in defending a well known human right activist or a case against human rights. We should be ashamed that we have such cases that require their attention. We are living in a global environment,, you cant seal your boarders and live in isolation. I think Helsinki sounds a bell. It is the capital of Finland. Finland is in Scandianavia.
    You are diverting it again by blaming the victim. If the story is one sided what’s the other side? Danielian jumped from the police station window and on his way, in the air, shot himself?

  7. Even forgetting who is involved and thus our position on the incident or who people would like to defend in this, as someone said above it is quite simple.
    Nobody has the right to attack people they don’t like or agree with and should face punishment. Being drunk is not an excuse, but in court, a lenient judge might take that into account if true remorse is also shown.
    They would still face punishment and be found guilty, however.
    And if someone is considered a spy then it is also for the courts to decide and not for drunken extremists. The U.S. Embassy is another matter, though. Maybe they’re just keeping a close eye as part of the monitoring of the post-election situation.
    On the other hand, ten minutes is an awfully quick response time and it would be interesting to know who it was, where they were at the time and who contacted them. Nevertheless, it has no bearing on the rights and wrongs of the incident itself.
    Only the law should matter here.

  8. Agreed. The event (if reportedly accurately by A1+, which given their track record, is a BIG if) is sad to hear about. What is a pneumatic gun anyway? Could this have been life threatening? Is it more like a b-b-gun? Just asking…

  9. Haik and Onnik
    Of course you are right,nobody can allow himself to shoot.But I want to stress once more-a lot of people were arrested these days,were beaten.
    No one from US Embassy came to see this people. For Mika they did it as soon as possible.Why? Who is Mika Danielyan? What is a difference among him and other arrested people? Why embassy people preffered Mika to other? Which services he is fulfilling?
    For Urikhanyan I have no words. He is so stupid not to realize that no one has right to
    touch people like Danielyan and Co.

  10. re about the beaten up political prisoners or March 1st events in general.
    Well maybe not an embassy but it was even on a higher level. The EU has gave a firm deadline that is June 20th. I am certain embassies were involved in this process.
    Coming to US still it hasn’t recognise SS as a “president” and they warned to caut the Democratic Chalanges (or however it is called) funding if Armenia doesnt get its act sorted out.
    These are very serious. Unfortunatly so far we dont see any efforts from the regime’s side to meet the deadline.

  11. AH, from the sounds of things it isn’t something that is life threatening, especially if it was fired at his chest from close range. That said, I also don’t know if Danielyan has any injuries or not and to what extent they are serious.
    From looking on the Internet it could be something that is used to fire a projectile with compressed air (like paintball) or something that doesn’t fire anything and which is used to scare away birds, for example. As I said, I think we need to know what injuries he suffered.
    As for the US Embassy, I’d like to know who came, where from and how were they contacted before making any judgement. Ten minutes sounds like they must have been in the area and it’s interesting to know who rang them. Danielyan?
    Regardless, while I can see what you mean about them not being so quick to act on other cases, I suppose the matter is that the US Embassy really cares about human rights defenders in countries such as Armenia (even if not in Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Guatanomo as well as among civil rights defenders in the US).
    Like I said, if someone is accused of spying for a foreign power then that’s treason and they should be investigated and not attacked. Moreover, if the Armenian government is unhappy about the US Embassy funding and supporting activists then they should demand that they stop.
    I would guess that all foreign funding has to be through bodies allowed to do so in Armenia. Of course, they won’t because it would then create a problem in terms of international relations. Anyway, let me just say that even if individuals or organizations are considered to be “up to no good” in Armenia that is no justification.
    The law has to protect them and if they themselves are in violation of the law it should be used to prosecute in open and transparent court cases. The same would be true if, say, Levon did come to power. One person has already tried to leave comments threatening A pro-Sargsyan blogger will face retribution later for “treason.”
    I didn’t let it through because taking the law into your own hands is not the answer to anything and not least because who is a spy or who is committing treason is subjective. Evidence presented in a court case is the only way to deal with such matters. I’d also say that if Danielyan was a “spy” then he wouldn’t be so open in his activities.
    Moreover, the US wouldn’t be so open in coming to his assistance. Instead, I’d just suggest that they are working closely together — unless, of course, the person from the Embassy in question was also a close friend.

  12. Onnik- agree with your points.
    One thing i’d like to add.
    I am curious that people are trying to find some hidden relations between Mika and U.S., building some conspiracy theories around it, or looking to find some hidden ties between LTP and West, forgetting that Russia is doing here whatever they want and in fashion they want.
    I was kind of amazed reading yesterday, that dashnaks were mentioned anther time that we had a “color revolution” case: (
    So seems that everything which is not pro-gov/pro-Russia can be marked as “color revolution” or spy-case.

  13. keep in mind that the only ‘source’ of a US embassy person being on the scene ‘in 10 minutes’ is Tigran’s comment on this blog post. if we are getting conspiratorial: who is tigran, how does he know the whereabouts of us embassy officials, or is he making this up and if so, who does he serve?

  14. Ace, Tigran is a pro-ARF and pro-Serj blogger.

  15. BTW, the US embassy person was not at the scene 10 minutes after the incident. He visited the Central police station (where the police had taken Danielian for some reason instead of taking him to the hospital) after the embassy had received a report about the assault.

  16. Dashnaks like spreading rumours. Its within their tactics. That way it is easy to control and brainwash the people who dont have basic analytical thinking and judgment skills.
    Just look at their idiot leader. 5 out of 8 pages of his speech in their party conference were dedicated to LTP. What an idiot?
    He cant connect two words together. Have you heard his answers to journalists?
    And then they blame LTP for spreading hatred.
    They are the party of hatred.
    What is really disappointment is that many educated and truly patriotic people buy what they hear from Dashnaks.
    What’s your opinion Ditord? I really respect you and I hope you have changed your opinion about them.

  17. Dashnaks like spreading rumours. Its within their tactics. That way it is easy to control and brainwash the people who dont have basic analytical thinking and judgment skills.
    Just look at their idiot leader. 5 out of 8 pages of his speech in their party conference were dedicated to LTP. What an idiot?
    He cant connect two words together. Have you heard his answers to journalists?
    And then they blame LTP for spreading hatred.
    They are the party of hatred.
    What is really disappointment is that many educated and truly patriotic people buy what they hear from Dashnaks.

  18. Nazarian many thanks for reminding me who am I:)
    By the way what do you think about following?
    1.Երեկ հանկարծամահ է եղել ՀՀՇ վարչության փոխնախագահ Անդրանիկ Հովակիմյանը: Նա մահացել է իր տան շենքի մուտքի մոտ: Անդրանիկ Հովակիմյանը որոշ ժամանակ առաջ ենթարկվել էր սրտի վիրահատության:
    168ժամ մայիսի 22-23 2008 թ50
    Երեկ հազիվ հասնելով իր բնակարան՝ սրտի տագնապից հանկարծամահ է եղել ՀՀՇ վարչության փոխնախագահ Անդրանիկ Հովակիմյանը: Նա ժամանակին ենթարկվել էր սրտի վիրահատության: Մարտի 1-ի դեպքերից հետո Անդրանիկ Հովակիմյանը թաքնվում էր եւ զուրկ է եղել բժշկական պատշաճ հսկողության ներքո գտնվելու հնարավորությունից: «Առավոտը» խորապես ցավակցում է Անդրանիկ Հովակիմյանի հարազատներին եւ ընկերներին:
    3.”Սրտի հետ կապված խնդիրներ ունենալով, այդ պայմաններում նա չէր կարող դիմել բժշկական օգնության, ապրել հանձնարարված ռեժիմով: Հետեւանքը եղավ սրտի ծանր տագնապը, որ խլեց նրա կյանքը: Այսինքն՝ նա ոչ թե մահացել, այլ զոհվել է պայքարում որպես մարտիկ, եւ նրա մահը հանցագործ վարչախմբի սանձազերծած քաղաքական հալածանքների հետեւանք է, ինչի համար վերջինս պատասխան է տալու անպայման:”

  19. Any idea of how long it was before the US Embassy person arrived and who it was?
    Not that it matters much other than to show that the US Embassy keep an eye on human rights activists as they usually do (with the exception of those countries, including their own, where they don’t like such matters being raised).
    At the same time, I don’t believe the attack on Danielyan was premeditated. I’m guessing (but it is only that) that some incident accorded with traffic, people shouted, Urikhanyan then recognized it was Danielyan, hates him anyway, and lost his rag.
    Not that this is an excuse (with or without any possible disagreement in the traffic) as it does illustrate a) how many people here choose to resolve disputes and b) the fact that such an approach is more prevalent for everybody than seeking recourse to the law.
    Danielyan should press charges, but the seriousness of the incident can’t really be known until the precise circumstances are. Was it a premeditated attack or simply hot Armenian tempers being raised. Again, this isn’t to excuse what happened, but it does have a bearing on why.
    Again, I suspect that it was a random and unexpected incident probably provoked by a traffic dispute. Anyone who’s driven on these roads know how tempers always flare. The personal nature of the attack as well as the words came after that.
    And if Urikhanyan recognized Danielyan was it the case the other way around. If Danielyan was drunk as someone I think suggested above, and even if wasn’t, did he say anything to Urikhanyan?
    Of course, I’m not too keep on people going around with gas guns, but thankfully it wasn’t a real one. My gut reaction? Please, let’s finally have a country where the rule of law is the only thing that matters.
    Courts are the places for disputes and not the streets. Same goes for politics too. And if the courts don’t function as they do, then let’s all engage in the admittedly difficult task of making sure that they do.

  20. antifa – Your arguments above don’t do much to change the image that anyone behind LTP cannot tolerate the slightest difference of opinion with a barrage of insults and character-assassination.
    What comes around goes around. Of all the various groups in the Armenian political realm, the ARF has the most reason to be retaliatory against LTP. After all, he brought back show-trials and political persecution against the ARF, the likes of which were not even used against the former Communist authorities (which is maybe not so surprising in itself).
    While not a member of the party, I am surprised at how proper the ARF has been in “rising above” the hatred and tit-for-tat in their rhetroic against Levon and the radical opposition. They even pulled back from their role in government after the elections, demonstrating something more than blindness for power that sadly so few else in the political arena can accomplish.
    Given the damage caused by LTP to the nation during his divide-and-conquer rule in the 90s (when banning the ARF only extended his mission to isolate Armenia and the Diaspora from each other), I think Markaryan’s speach was understandable and even appropriate.

  21. And speaking of “spreading rumors”, would you defend the journalistic integrity of Nikol Pashinyan or A1+?? (and no, this was not a rhetorical question or me trying to make a joke.)

  22. Antifa – Dashnaktsutyun is a complex organization – it is not homogeneous, and I would refrain from blanket statements like “Dashnaks like spreading rumours”.

  23. I guess I’m kind of tired of hatred wherever it comes from… 🙁

  24. Diaspora and Dashnaktsutyun are too separate things. people still wrongly perceive that Dashnaktsutyun is the representation of the Armenian Diaspora.
    A1+ and HZH are newspapers and they report the news as they see. Dashnaktsutyun is a political party. Those are two different things my dear AH.
    Dashnaktsutyun is a Neo-nazi, actually it is just a Nazi political party spreading far-right ideas and hatred not only amongst Armenian population but against other ideas and people.
    Please bare with me and continue reading.
    Dashnaktsutyun hasn’t progressed since the 1920s possibly because we didnt have an independent country where we could have elections, political progress etc. It is obvious it couldn’t progress in Diaspora (as the case is with Hnchak and Ramkavar parties).
    Why I am saying this is because in the beginning of the 20th centaury is known with the spread of nationalism and after the WW1 trauma and injustice we had a phenomenon like the rise of Nazzi party in Germany, the Mussolini, the Franco regime, in some way ( a little bit unrelated) Stalin and so on. Things progressed in those countries after the WW2 but people living in those regimes paid dearly but still didnt fully recover ( the recent Joseph Fritzel case in Austria is an example) .
    So now in Armenia we have a party which did not go through an ideological, philosophical and political development over 80 years due to the no-homeland factor explain above.
    This is very dangerous. It is abnormal.
    Should this abnormal phenomenon be banned? I say NO it shouldn’t as banning will hamper the progress. I think the change need to be come within Dashnaktsutyun. It used to be a confederation of socialist parties (hence the name) with some very interesting core ideas. The way of the progress is to take the reality as it is,- to become a party of an independent country. Continue its isolation with its huge influence and decision making coming from Diaspora means staying in regression. Dashnaktsutyun needs to make a bold decision, to have the courage to progress.
    Coming to LTP. He is the person who invited Dashnaktsutyun and other Diasporant organisations to Armenia. However Dashnaktsutyun had a bigger appetite. With less than 10-15% of the popular support it wanted to take over the power still in the 20 centaury revolutionary methods.
    If you even try to observe carefully LTP did more good to dashnaktsutyun than harm however Dashnaktsutyun didn’t realise this and unfortunately still doesn’t. They were given the chance to progress, to become a real independent political party but now they are deeper in the swamp. It will phase out soon as the time changes and dashnaktsutyun still clings on the past. The formation of the new board will demonstrate it.

  25. The last tow sentences are not clear:
    It should be Dashnaktsutyun as a political party will phase out as the time changes as it still clings on teh past. The upcoming formation of the new board will demonstrate and be proof of this.

  26. Antifa – I’ve said most of what I wanted to say about Dashnaktsutyun here:
    Not to SPAM here with unrelated comments – please feel free to take a look and comment there?

    2008-04-07 04:48 pm (local) (link) Track This
    Art, I really don’t understand how you go with that. So rigged elections are ok, as long as it’s levon who it’s being rigged against? Or levon is so bad that rigged elections are the “least worst”?
    2008-04-07 05:58 pm (local) (link) Track This
    Nar – we are talking about political parties here, remember? ARF is one of them. HHK, OEK, Zharangutyun or HHSH are other examples – which are not much different in their approach to power – which is one and simple: they want political power. They need it – more then anything, more then their image, trust of the electorate, etc,etc. All of them do – and they don’t care about democracy – none of them. For Chrissake – not even Labor in Uk or Democrats in US care about democracy!
    So yes – for them, and for any party in Armenia today, rigged elections don’t matter, as long as they get power(their understanding of power is rather different though, as you’ve shown in your other post). And the contrary – rigged elections and democracy become an issue, as soon as they fail to gain power.
    For us – simple mortals, it is important to mistrust all the political forces, and understand, that this neglection of democracy is an endemic weakness of any party in power (power corrupts ;)), so there’s other factors to look up to. In case of ARF – there is a factor which I greatly appreciate – it is the fact, that this party has an actual party structure and an internal decision making mechanism, which makes it a party of more then one leader, unlike every other big party I’ve seen in Armenia so far. Other factors, which are nonexistant in ANY party in Armenia are – transparency of decision making, transparency of funding, feedback mechanism with the electorate, etc, etc.
    As for me – or as to how I go about this: I feel robbed, because my right to decide my destiny is taken away, but as a regular/traditional/isolationist Armenian I’m only desparately thinking what to do to secure my family and provide for my son. And this comes first – fight for Armenia’s national interst and statehood, which I perceive as equal to fight for democracy, economic democracy, free flow of information, socialism, environmental actions, good education – only come after that. And that is true for 99% of Armenians in this country. (Although I’m perhaps exaggerating for my case, because, surprisingly enough, I do care about democracy as much as about my family – because I see the clear link between democracy, and the well being of my family and my son’s future)

  28. Antifa – I am sorry, but I do not buy your rewriting of history. This historiography of the 20th century of the Armenian nation (led by proponents in the Turkish/Soviet sphere) won’t have me buying the BS.
    Regarding spreading hatred, I think you got the ARF mixed up with some others. We have all been following news quite carefully during the last few months, and the racist hate has been disgusting. Kudos to the ARF for not getting pulled into that swamp.

  29. — Tigran Kocharyan Says:
    — May 23, 2008 at 9:23 am
    — Nazarian many thanks for reminding me who am I 🙂
    — By the way what do you think about following?
    One thing I can’t understand is how you can be so anti-American and still be employed by the American government? What do your bosses think about the situation?

  30. What is anti-American about Tigran?

  31. I know lots of Americans who are against the US policy of funding revolutions overseas (chile, contras in nicaragua, georgia, ukraine, etc.) Are they anti-American too?
    I won’t even get into Afghanistan, Iraq, or…Iran.

  32. Dear Ditord
    You are an autonomist, an anarchist, a libertarian. It is as simple as that.
    This is a compliment.
    Dashnaktsutyun has anarchist roots ( one of the “cores: that I talked in my lengthy comment). But they need to progress they need to remove the meaningless rhetoric of bitterness and hatred, the narrow mindedness, the AK 47 approach. And it is sad and strange that you try not to see that.
    Yes, I support the National Movement because I see very valuable ideas in it that are in slowly getting into maturity. Ideas of autonomist in Hrant Ter-Abrahamyan’s articles, the 1+ in Nikol Pashinian, the direct action of HIMA kids. The direct democracy in the courtrooms suppressed under electroshocks.
    Very fresh ideas in Armenian reality. This is what I like in this movement and I will therefore support this movement as long as these developments are in progress. If these ideas are suppressed the movement will stop to function and naturally I will oppose it as I am sure many supporters like me will do.

  33. Just a personal message:
    Have you watched teh film called Land and Freedom.
    You can watch it at
    It is on the right hand side bar under G8 TV Logo

  34. “They even pulled back from their role in government after the elections, demonstrating something more than blindness for power that sadly so few else in the political arena can accomplish.”
    This is an outright lie; they actually retained every single government position; if they didn’t get any more, it certainly wasn’t for the lack of desire. They tried, unsuccessfully, to once again lobby for a lead in power and military structures. At least God hasn’t forsaken us completely and HYD hasn’t been able to get its claws on Defense Ministry or National Security.

  35. Vahan Hovhannisyan resigned as deputy speaker and the ARF was relatively silent during the post election celebration, expressing dissatisfaction with the process.
    Sorry, me, but there is no lie.

  36. Yes he resigned, but HYD retained the deputy speaker position (Hrayr Karapetyan is new one); so there really was no pull back. I don’t want to say that the dramatic resignation ( in protest of the election results, btw) was all for show; I am going to give our old friend Vahan the benefit of the doubt that he decidedly doesn’t deserve. However, the question still remains; why DID he resign?
    And what would they “celebrate”? Their embarrassing 6% showing?

  37. OK agreed, but I think my point that the ARF demonstrated a somewhat different approach than other government allies (or of course, the power-blinded LTP followers) during and immediately after the election is probably quite fair.
    That they participated in post-election consolidation is natural and even (from a prcoess standpoint) a good sign for Armenia. This is a common occurrence in parliamentary democracies, though I for one would have preferred to see ARF in opposition (much healthier than the anti-patriotic bankrupt HHSh ideology), but that is a different point.

  38. Here we Armenians again. Instead of sorting out problems in our small, impoverished, unimportant country of which most of the world hasn’t even heard (and no, it is not their problem) we lecture the likes of the US. Why can’t you understand that real spies and provocators are the ones who stay hidden? Do you you think real “agents” are people whose names and faces you know? How childish and naive. You may or may not like Danielyan, it doesn’t matter. What matters that a citizen has been shot, and it doesn’t matter why or how – the mere fact that he was shot at in the street is a crime. To speak of “who he is working for” is pathetitc and primitive. The real enemies of the state are in the organs of the state, not outside.

  39. Observer – I appreciate your comments, but would kindly ask you to choose a slightly different Nickname – as this is my blog and your comments might mislead people into thinking, that it is me – commenting.

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