Karabakh Human Rights Activist Earns WCC Special Honor

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Karen Ohanjanian–a human rights activist and coordinator of the Helsinki Initiative – 92 Nagorno-Karabakh Committee–won a special prize from the World Council of Churches (WCC) for his contribution to peace and human rights protection. The message of WCC Secretary General Mient Jan Faber mentioned that the civil activity of Karen Ohanjanian is manifested "in conditions of continuing confrontation and increased violence." The efforts of the laureate in mediating the release of over 500 prisoners of war and hostages–searching for missing people and protection of human rights among children–women and the elderly was especially distinguished.

Karen Ohanjanian–who is the regional coordinator of Amnesty International–shared his impressions on the March 22 trial. Amnesty International gave a negative conclusion on the issue of respect on the defendants’ rights in the case.

"The court has failed to prove the guilt of Samvel Babayan in organizing a terrorist act," said the human rights activist–adding that during the whole course of the trial defendants testified to the application of physical violence and psychotropic matters against them. He said that the principal defendants–who admitted to having committed the terrorist act–nevertheless did not admit that they had acted on instructions of the former Commander of the NKR Defense Army Samvel Babayan. Ohanjanian also stressed that on the threshold of the trial the NKR Prosecutor General and other representatives of the authorities repeatedly stated about the guilt of Babayan–thereby violating the basic principle which is the presumption of innocence.

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