Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Political Prisoner Ashot Manukyan.

Mr. Manukyan's trial is scheduled to resume today, October 15th. He has been sitting in prison for more than 7 months. Please let the Armenian authorities know that the U.S. cannot continue to support a regime that imprisons its citizens on bogus charges. The Armenian people will never enjoy good governance if oligarchs are allowed to terrorize the population into quiet submission.

Below is the timeline of Ashot Manukyan's prosecution.

March 1: Ashot Manukyan is beaten and arrested at dawn after 11 days of peaceful protest of a corrupt election. He is taken to Nubershen detention center and not allowed to see his family for over a month – until his wounds heal.

July 15: After 4 months in 'pre-detention', a trial date is finally scheduled. The court date is later cancelled at the last minute due to lack of witnesses.

July 29: The prosecutor seeks an adjournment to upgrade the charges to more serious felonies, punishable by 5 to 10 years imprisonment. At the prosecutor's request the court adjourned the case for four weeks.

September 9: The defense attorney made a motion to disqualify the two prosecutors working on the case. That motion was denied by the judge. The case is moved to the higher felony and adjourned to Sept. 17 to hear from the victim / police officer.

September 17: Two witnesses testified – both police officers. One testified as the "victim" and the other as a "witness". Per a US official who attended the trial: "The bad news is that this case clearly demonstrates, even assuming that the defendant is completely guilty, that the authorities are out to get him. He took part in the demonstration and he (allegedly) threw a rock that hit a cop in the foot. Minimal injury at worst. This is really no big deal".

October 6: Trial postponed at the last minute due to lack of prosecution witnesses.

October 15: Ashot Manukyan now in prison for over 7 months. Mr. Manukyan's lawyer made a motion to allow him to be 'released on bail'. It was denied and the trial postponed again until October 25th.

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