Categories
Internet Legal Politics Security Social Networks

A Facebook user detained on pretext of “endangering national security” in Armenia

A Facebook user, who recently came to the center of public attention for posting misinformation under the pseudonym Դիանա Հարությունյան (Diana Harutyunyan) has been detained by the National Security Service of Armenia, after Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called the user’s posting a threat to national security.

The Facebook account in question seems to be deleted by now. Last time I accessed it, the account’s About section made it clear that it is a sarcastic and/or parody account.

Following the US Drone strike in Iraq, which killed the Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the Facebook user had posted misinformation, as if theArmenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has congratulated the US President Donald Trump on the “successful operation.” The misinformation had been first picked up by Azeri news sites and then by the Iranian ones, risking serious consequences for Armenian – Iranian relations.

“This is the case, when the false “freedom of speech” has endangered our national security,” Nikol Pashinian stated in a Facebook post. “The authors of the news and their motives must be investigated,” Armenian PM wrote.

Hours after Pashinian’s post, the National Security Service issued a statement, claiming it had carried out “investigative – operative activities” and as a result identified and detained the Facebook user.

Commenting on OWASP Armenia Facebook groups, cyber-security expert Samvel Martirosyan finds it unlikely that the NSS would have the technical capabilities to identify the user with technical means. He also excludes the possibility that Facebook would have provided data on the user for such a posting and in such a short period of time.

Meanwhile, Armenia’s top lawyer specialized on technological issues — David Sandukhchyan, has raised serious concerns about the legal aspects of the detention and claimed that the Facebook posting does not constitute a crime according to Armenian legislation and mocked both Pashinian and the the NSS for claiming that “the post by some fake user can endanger national security.”

Referring to the video published by the NSS (see below this post), which neither publishes the real name of the Facebook user, nor the article of criminal code, according to which the detention has taken place, Sandukhchyan has also written “What if there was no fake at all and it was done only to scare people, who post undesirable content on Facebook?

PS: I should just add that this is a very troubling development, since this is the second case, when a Facebook user has been detained after Pashinian directly instructed the National Security Services to take action.

Categories
Armenia Politics Society

Armenia: Limited Justice for Police Violence

One-Sided Prosecutions Year After Attacks on Protesters, Journalists

(Yerevan) –  The Armenian government has failed to ensure full accountability for police violence against largely peaceful protesters and journalists a year ago, Human Rights Watch said today. At the same time the authorities have indicted at least 32 protesters, convicting 21 of them, with 11 sentenced to prison.

Categories
Legal Politics Society

Cardboard-Tank Activist Faces Jail Term for Running into National Security Service's Gate

Activist Artak Gevogryan, a member of the “Counterstrike” art-group, faces 2 years in jail on hooliganism charges for running into the metal gate of Armenia’s National Security Service with his cardboard tank.

Categories
Armenia Politics

Opposition MP Attacked in Yerevan

Armenia — ANC deputy Aram Manukian avoids speaking to journalists shortly after he was attacked next to his appartment in central Yerevan, 11Dec2014

One of the leaders of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) party has been attacked in Yerevan by an unknown assailant.

Categories
Armenia Legal Politics Society

Remember. March 1 Will Never Be The First Day of Spring Again

Armenia -- Tribute to victims of March 1 violence in Yerevan, 01Mar2013Armenia -- Tribute to victims of March 1 violence in Yerevan, 01Mar2013Armenia -- Tribute to victims of March 1 violence in Yerevan, 01Mar2013Armenia -- Tribute to victims of March 1 violence in Yerevan, 01Mar2013Armenia -- Tribute to victims of March 1 violence in Yerevan, 01Mar2013
PS:  Where are the authorities, who are directly responsible for the 10 deaths of March 1? Why don’t they show up and pay tribute?

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Categories
Armenia

HRW points to lack of 'meaningful investigation' into March'08 violence

“The Armenian authorities have yet to ensure meaningful investigations into excessive use of police force during March 2008 clashes with opposition supporters protesting alleged fraud in the previous month’s presidential election, and address related allegations of abuse in police custody,”  Human Rights Watch, a recognized human rights watchdog, said in a report released today.
The 612-page report, the organization’s 20th annual review of human rights practices around the globe, summarizes major human rights trends in more than 90 nations and territories worldwide.

Categories
Armenia

US State Department Human Rights Report Criticizes Armenia

The U.S. State Department has released it annual survey of human rights conditions around the world. Examining human rights in more than 190 countries during 2008, the report criticizes its usual targets, including Russia, Iran, Uzbekistan, North Korea, and China, among many others. The report says “the most serious human rights abuses tended to occur in countries where unaccountable rulers wielded unchecked
power or there was government failure or collapse.”
The section on Armenia of the report is unprecedented by it sheer size! – it’s full of 67 page-long criticism of the Armenia.
For those who don’t have the time and patience to read the whole thing, RFE/RL offers a short account here. Some quotes below:

Categories
Armenia

HRW: Democracy on Rocky Ground

The 64-page report by the Human Rights Watch details the clashes between police and protesters in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, on March 1, 2008, in the wake of the disputed February 2008 presidential polls. It also documents the ill-treatment of individuals detained in connection with the violence, and lack of comprehensive investigation and accountability for excessive use of force on March 1 and in its aftermath. The report is based on more than 80 interviews carried out over three research missions in Armenia in 2008 and 2009.

Categories
Armenia

Human Rights Watch: "Armenia experienced one of its most serious civil rights crises since independence"

“Armenia experienced one of its most serious civil and political rights crises since independence when security forces used excessive force on March 1 against opposition demonstrators protesting the results of the February 2008 presidential election”, – the Human Rights Watch report released yesterday says.

Categories
Armenia

Armenia should abandon its unjust and unwise travel ban on people

By Jirair Ratevosian and Amy Hagopian
The first cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were diagnosed 25 years ago, opening a new tragedy in human history and changing the way the world thinks about public health.
While HIV, the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS, has killed 25 million people and ravaged many parts of the world, it has been relatively less serious in Armenia, which has
reported fewer than 500 people with the HIV virus, only 30 percent of whom progressed into the full AIDS disease, and only 42 of whom have died. In contrast, approximately 33.2 million people—about 1 in every 200—are living with HIV worldwide.
Armenia has organized a relatively progressive and reasonably effective response to the national epidemic by providing free testing and drugs for AIDS treatment through its National Centre for AIDS Prevention. However, there is still one important human rights issue to be addressed at the national level: removing the travel ban that prevents people living with HIV from entering the country.