Today, the European Court has published its judgment on the case “Pashinyan v. Armenia”. The case concerns the applicant’s conviction for his involvement in the protest movement that followed the presidential election of 19 February 2008.
The applicant, incumbent Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, was at the time the editor-in-chief of Haykakan Zhamanak (“Armenian Times”), a daily opposition newspaper.
The applicant actively participated in the demonstrations that followed the presidential election. The application submitted to the European Court said “the demonstrations had been peaceful and had aimed at annulling the results of the rigged election and holding a new election” and added that “the authorities had responded by carrying out unlawful persecution and harassment of opposition supporters and those who had given speeches at Freedom Square.”
The applicant further complained that his detention during trial had been unlawful.
On 4 March 2008 the applicant was formally charged under, inter alia, Article 225 (organizing mass disorder) and Article 300 (usurpation of State power) of the CC.
On 24 March 2009 the charge under Article 300 of the CC was dropped, since that provision had been amended and as a result was no longer applicable. On 1 July 2009 the applicant voluntarily turned himself in to the authorities. On 3 July 2009 the applicant was brought before the Kentron and Nork‑Marash District Court of Yerevan (hereafter, the District Court) which decided to detain him for a period of two months on the ground that he was a flight risk and could obstruct the proceedings, taking into account the fact that a search had been launched in his respect.
On 16 July 2009 the Criminal Court of Appeal upheld this decision, stating that a search for him had been launched and he had appeared before the investigating authority only one year and four months later. On 27 August 2009 the District Court extended the applicant’s detention by two months on the same grounds. This decision was upheld upon the applicant’s appeal by the Criminal Court of Appeal on 11 September 2009.
The Court has found the following violations of the European Convention on Human Rights:
Violation of Article 11 – Freedom of assembly and association (Article 11-1 – Freedom of peaceful assembly)
Violation of Article 5 – Right to liberty and security (Article 5-1 – Lawful arrest or detention)
The applicant did not submit a claim for just satisfaction. The Court therefore made no award.