By Karine Kalantarian
The brother of a controversially arrested newspaper editor was taken to a police precinct on Tuesday morning following a tip-off alleging that a person wanted by police was hiding in his apartment.
Vice-Director of the Skizb Media Ltd. Artak Babajanian, who is the brother of “Yerevan Zhamanak” editor Arman Babajanian, later told RFE/RL that police officers came to his apartment in Komitas Avenue at 8:30 am and began knocking at his door and demanding that he open it.
Babajanian, who had not been notified of the visit by the police or invited to the police precinct in advance, had to get in touch with his relatives on the phone and make sure that those knocking on the door were indeed representatives of the law. He said he opened the door only after his relatives confirmed that.
According to Babajanian, the police workers did not give him any explanations, saying that he ‘would know everything at the police precinct’.
At 11:00 am, Yerevan Police Department Head Nerses Nazarian explained to RFE/RL that police needed to check some information with Babajanian and that he would be released soon after.
Before his release about half an hour later, Babajanian was told that he had been brought to the police precinct following an alarm that a person wanted by the police lived in his apartment.
Babajanian signed a paper that he had never been wanted by the police before and was released after what appeared to be three hours of stress and civil rights violation at the police precinct.
Two months ago prosecutors arrested his brother Arman Babajanian on forgery and draft evasion charges. Despite his representing no threat to society, Babajanian, who later partially admitted to the charges during the trial, was denied a release on bail pending trial, which was denounced by the editors of Armenia’s leading newspapers as politically motivated.
Lawyer Zaruhi Postanjian explains that the police did not have sufficient grounds for bringing Artak Babajanian to the precinct. “Had he been notified in advance that police wanted to question him and failed to respond to the subpoena as a witness, accused or suspect, the police then would have reasons for taking him to the precinct,” she said.