The 33-year-old Edmond Nargizian was struck by a stun grenade when security forces clashed with protesters last Friday after not allowing them to approach the parliament building in Yerevan. He was rushed to a hospital and underwent surgery there.
“I was lucky. Thank God, I stayed alive,” Nargizian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service as he continued to recover from his head injury in the hospital.
The clashes, which left dozens of protesters and police officers injured, broke out on the 34th day of nonstop anti-government protests organized by Armenia’s leading opposition groups. The police fired stun grenades as some opposition supporters tried to break through a police cordon.
Opposition leaders condemned the police actions. They said that policemen mishandled the stun grenades and wounded many other officers.
The police denied that, saying that the “special means” were fired in the air and did not put people’s lives at risk. Nargizian countered that one of the grenades struck him on the head.
The hospitalized man also said that law-enforcement officials have still not visited and spoken to him. He said they instead confiscated his mobile phone when he was being operated on.
“They won’t give back my phone. I don’t know why,” added Nargizian.
Armenia’s Office of the Prosecutor-General said on Monday that it has ordered an inquiry into the use of the stun grenades and other instances of police brutality alleged by the opposition.
The Anti-Corruption Committee, which is supposed to conduct the inquiry, confirmed on Wednesday that it has not indicted any police officers. It has not even opened a formal criminal case with regard to the legality of the police actions.
Meanwhile, another law-enforcement agency, the Investigative Committee, is pressing assault charges against 15 participants of Friday’s opposition demonstrations. Ten of them are under arrest pending investigation.
Opposition leaders reject the accusations as politically motivated. They say the authorities have not presented any video evidence corroborating police claims that some protesters threw stones and other objects.
Videos of the clashes publicized by opposition activists showed several policemen punching protesters as the latter were dragged away and arrested by other officers.