A court in Armenia has directed the police to reinvestigate a 2018 brutal attack on LGBTQI activists.
The Criminal Court of Appeal ruled that the investigator had failed to properly probe the incident on August 3, 2018 when around nine LGBTQI activists and their friends were set upon by a mob of 30 people in Shurnukh village in the Syunik region of Armenia.
“We hope that this decision will finally force the investigation body to resume the preliminary investigation and to start examining the real motive of the crime,” Pink Armenia, an LGBTQI advocacy group said in a statement.
“This decision of the Criminal Court of Appeal (has) reaffirmed that the investigation of Shurnukh case was biased, and the motive of a crime (hatred against sexual orientation and gender identity of the victims) was completely ignored and not examined.”
The government granted amnesty to some of the assailants and the investigation agency decided not to prosecute the remaining 13 accused. This decision was challenged by Pink Armenia. The first Instance Court of the Syunik region ruled that no rights were violated and dismissed the organisation’s petition. Earlier, this month a court of appeal held that “the investigator had not conducted a proper investigation, was in a hurry (to close the case), and made an unreasonable decision.”
“We think it is clear to everyone that violating the dignity of a person, subjecting them to psychological or physical abuse for discriminatory reasons, should be severely condemned and punished… The Criminal Court of Appeal referred to the facts of severe mental suffering of the victims and the discriminative motive of the crime, and noted that the investigator had failed to conduct the investigation properly,” said Pink Armenia in a statement.
Along with an earlier decision that said that granting amnesty to some of the assailants was wrong, the court order now paves the way for a re-investigation of the incident.
Following the 2018 attack, Serj Tankian, a popular Armenian-American musician, who is considered by many to be an ally, had called for action.
“Justice needs to be served along with serious education in rural Armenia on LGBT issues.”
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