15 October 2006

1136) Intellectuals who have been subject to political persecution in post-Soviet Armenia


The signatories are intellectuals who have been subject to political persecution in post-Soviet Armenia. Herewith we’d like to deliver our message to the communities of Armenia and Diaspora, national institutions, cultural organizations, parties and state bodies, human rights organizations, writers’ unions around the world, as well as the democratic nations which have diplomatic relations with the Republic of Armenia: . .

1) Armenia is one of those post-Soviet republics where tyranny keeps hardening since the collapse of USSR and tends to transform into dictatorship. The organized persecution of intellectuals who dare expose and criticize the ruling junta’s criminal offence, large-scale theft of the national wealth intensifies day after day.

2) The persecution is instructed by the self-declared ruling clan in active cooperation with various state and non-state institutes, specifically National Security bodies, RA Police, Yerevan’s municipality, RA Prosecutor’s Office, Justice Ministry, etc.

3) The signatories have personally suffered from humiliating oppressions from the mentioned bodies. In Armenia, the persecution and oppression are expressed in various forms, such as:

a. Confiscation of property and financial means;
b. Expulsion from Armenia and organized impediment of any attempt to return;

c. Interference with the activities of publishing houses and book stores to hamper the distribution and reading of our books in Armenia;

d. Persecuting and terrorizing people who deal with the publication, distribution or promotion of our books: unlicensed intrusion into apartments, unsanctioned search of property resulting in stealth of important computer-stored information, confiscation of unpublished books and personal documents, filing false lawsuits, introducing false witnesses and terrorizing real ones, as well as their relatives, wiretapping, imprisonment or death threats, demand of huge bribes, ordering arrests, attempts to murder the authors by bribing or provoking their friends.

4) We are concerned by the attitude of the political organizations towards those who practice free speech and generate new ideas in the Armenian reality. We are upset by the consistent propaganda intended to demoralize the writers who expose the truth. We address all party leaders and members to give an adequate assessment of this kind of measures, to stop being the henchmen for the junta’s policy of silencing or subduing the Diaspora.

5) Over the past few years the Armenian mass media has been actively covering issues related to writers or other public figures who speak against existing taboos in foreign countries, especially Turkey. Unfortunately, with negligent but respectful exceptions, the intellectuals who try to overcome taboos in the Armenian reality are neglected altogether. We believe that the guarantee of free speech is of utmost importance for the national security of Armenia and Armenians. Therefore, those countries or parties that ignore it do not function for the benefit of the nation.

6) This is a time period when the corner stones of the motherland are laid for future generations, and the activities that such an irresponsible and immoral regime and the supporting organizations are unfolding against the actual benefits of the nation may lead to irreversible negative consequences. Realizing the paramount importance and urgency of building the motherland and preserving the achieved independence today, we address:

a) The Armenians all over the world to attend to the protection of free speech in the Republic of Armenia, as well as the Diaspora.

All the political organizations to reconsider their policy towards the junta tyrannizing Armenia, stop being their vassals abroad and disorienting other countries and the Armenians of Diaspora, stow the constant bawdry and defamation of writers in mass media, encourage the cultural organizations to study and publicize the works of writers who open new perspectives.

c) Culturally-oriented unions to apply depoliticized, nonpartisan and unbiased approach to Armenian literature, to pay due attention to writers and artists who are abreast with the times and, why not, to raise the public’s awareness of their message.

d) The Writers’ Union of Armenia and international organizations to take firm steps to guarantee the security of exiled

e) International organizations to take corresponding steps to eliminate any obvious or hidden obstacles hampering writers’ rights including freedom of speech, to facilitate and secure the return of the exiled intellectuals to their motherland.

f) Intellectuals who have suffered from intolerance and persecution under despotic regimes to join our forces and struggle for the right to free speech around the world.

g) Freethinking Turkish writers to unite in the fight for the abolition of taboos both in Turkey and Armenia with the purpose of establishing real democracy and ensuring writers’ free speech and security.

h) Governmental and non-governmental organizations of the EU, USA, France, Sweden and other democracies. Abusing the diplomatic and economic ties with these democratic countries, the incumbent junta endeavors to gain political capital to ensure continuity of its power. Any assistance to such antidemocratic and criminal group of people is against the national interests of the democratic countries. Any external force that indirectly supports the establishment and preservation of the illegal leadership infuriates the Armenian people. We bid your sympathy with the prevailing attitudes towards the abolition of the junta and coup d’état in the Republic of Armenia.

i) The national security bodies of democratic countries to persecute and expose the agents and accomplices of the criminal leadership who threaten the right of these countries’ citizens to freedom of speech.

Union of exiled Armenian writers and scholars:

Vahe Avetian (Sweden), author of “Independence Army”, “EstablishMENT” , “Svartskalle”, “From here and there”, “Blatte”, “Baghdasar, Loki, Nils, Shvejk”.

Armen Melikian (U.S.A.), author of “The Deeds of the dogs or The Road to Kusastan”

Alexander Varpetian (France), ethnologist, president of Essence Temple of National Wisdom, author of “Genesis”, “Essence” and dozens of other books.

Ara Baliozian (Canada) - writer
Armine Barseghyan (Finland) - economist
Armen Martirossyan (USA) - doctor of philosofy
Angela Barseghian (USA) - lawyer
Louisa Poghosyan (Armenia) - human rights defender
Georgi Vanyan (Armenia) - human rights defender
Gor Mkhitaryan (USA) - musician
Louisa Avetian (Sweden) - linguist
SEV (USA) - artist
Karen Karslyan (Armenia) - writer
Kahren Harutyunyan (USA) - (UCLA) - art and literature
Ara Manoogian (USA) - human rights defender
Igor Boyko (Russia) - musician
Katia Sisfontes (Sweden) - designer, artist
Zaruhi Pirumyan (Denmark) - musician
Lena Lindstedt (Sweden) - designer and goldsmith
Burt Edman (Sweden) - designer and goldsmith
Stepan Grigoryan (Armenia) - doctor of political science
Chingiz Gusejnov (Azerbaijan) - writer
Alekper Aliyev (Azerbaijan) - writer
Shahin Rzayev (Azerbaijan) - writer
Seymur Baycan (Azerbaijan) - writer
Ashot Beglaryan (Nagorni Karabagh) - writer
Khamis Masimov (Azerbaijan) - human rights defender


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