Human Rights 96 US Embassy Discuss Beating of Two Boys

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan–RFE/RL)–Several Armenian human rights groups and officials from the US Embassy in Yerevan met on Thursday to discuss the April 28 incident in which two Armenian boys suffered physical injuries after being caught red-handed picking apricots in the garden of a senior US diplomat’s house. The boys and their parents and the diplomat have offered differing versions of the incident–with the former saying that former US press attach Morgan Liddick beat the children badly. But Liddick said earlier he did not harm either of the boys–who according to him–got injured when they tried to escape from him. One of the ten year old boys suffered concussion.

Meanwhile–the acting US press attach Theresa Manlow categorically denied on Thursday charges by the human rights groups that Liddick was to blame for the incident. "Morgan Liddick never struck or harmed either of the children," she said. She also criticized the Armenian media for "wild accusations" and "personal attacks on a very valued member of the embassy."

The boys’ mothers–who were present at the meeting–burst into tears when starting to describe the state of their health. They claimed the children are still under stress and suffer from a chronic malfunctioning of the nervous system. The parents earlier complained that the Armenian authorities refuse to take any action against the diplomat.

Liddick left Armenia last month after completing his tour of duty.

The meeting was organized by the Union of Public Organizations "Human Rights-96."

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