Monday, February 27, 2006

Pick the right road and those in question will always try to soil your wife's name

A little bit of advice to President Robert Kocharian.

When slinging dirt around, don't sling it in the direction of a powerful fan that is blowing in your direction, as it will always come back and hit you in the face.

The following is a story to document Kocharian doing a little bit of dirt slinging and I can tell you that this one is going to bring in to question many things he has done in the past and future, not only in Armenia, but all over the Diaspora.

Bad move Robe jan.

Haylur Dismays Diasporan Philanthropists

Hetq Online - 27/02/2006
By Liana Sayadyan
Edik Baghdasaryan

"This type of attitude on the part of an Armenian media outlet might indeed dismay Armenian-American philanthropists and prevent them from actively investing in Armenia," reads a letter from Jack Berberian, an Armenian-American philanthropist, to the chairman of the Council of Public Television and Radio, Alexan Harutunyan. The source of our fellow Armenian's dismay was a February 15 report by the "investigative team" at Haylur (Public TV's news program) on Junior Achievement of Armenia (JAA), a nonprofit organization. Berberian serves as president of the board of directors of JAA.

Anchorperson Tatevik Baghdasaryan presented the report, entitled Charity as Political Business, with the following introduction: "The activity of public charity organizations in Armenia is based mainly on donations from Diasporan philanthropists - on their money. And where there is money, there is temptation. The question of whether philanthropists' money always serves charitable purposes is of interest, first of all, to those who don't hesitate to provide portions of their earnings on a regular basis to those in need. Among these people is Armenian-American Jack Berberian, a philanthropist who is well known and widely respected within the community. Haylur's investigative team has tried to find out how [they are used] and what purposes charitable donations serve?" (For the full text, see:

The Haylur "investigative team", anxious about how Jack Berberian's money was being spent in Armenia, alleged that "the funds raised by the executive director of JAA, Armine Hovhannisian (the wife of former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovhannisian), in America are allotted to her husband's political activity, to collecting signatures in support of Hovhannisian's receiving Armenian citizenship, etc. The important question is whether Jack Berberian, who finances the program, is aware of all this. Does he know that the money he has provided for the education of Armenia's youth is invested in a family business that serves one man's political ambitions? Certainly not, because the Diaspora has made it clear from the very beginning of Armenia's independence that it was important to them that donations reach their target."

In his February 17, 2006 letter to Alexan Harutunyan, Jack Berberian wrote: "I, Jack Berberian, an Armenian-American businessman, was deeply disturbed to learn about the deceitful and distorted report aired by the Haylur news program on February 15th regarding the 'un-targeted spending of funds I provided' to the organization Junior Achievement of Armenia organization.' As president of the board of directors of JAA, I formally declare that the organization's activity is financed by USAID. I would like to inform you that the organization's financial activity is supervised by USAID, Junior Achievement International, and the organization's board of directors. Furthermore, Junior Achievement of Armenia undergoes annual independent auditing by Corbin & Company, Ltd. Our financial statements are published in the organization's Annual Reports and are placed on the JAA website, both of which are open and transparent to the public. ... I strongly urge you to refute the misinformation aired on your program without delay and cease hindering Armenia's progress with such fabricated reports."

It is unclear where the Haylur team obtained their information; their report seems to be based purely on assumptions and makes no mention of specific sources.

"If their purpose was disclosure and not slandering my name, it would have been better if they had obtained the information from the reports published on our website, said JAA's executive director, Armine Hovhannisian. "It's a USAID program. Berberian is the president of the board of directors of our organization, not our funder. I don't think that their aim was an investigation; they simply wanted to soil our reputation. It was done on purpose. This wasn't the first campaign and it won't be the last. We've been living in Armenia for 15 years, we've been known only for doing good, and now within the course of one month we've become thieves, we beat people, we're criminals. Before the elections you'll hear that we're a criminal clan. In my opinion, they are trying to get at Raffi Hovhannisian through me."

On February 20th Armine Hovhannisian demanded a written refutation from Alexan Harutunyan, chairman of the Council of Public Television, Armen Arzumanyan, executive director of Public Television, Harutiun Harutunyan, director of Haylur, and Armen Gevorgyan, assistant to the President of Armenia.

"None of the information aired during the report corresponds to reality. It is full of fabricated and distorted information from beginning to end. I would like to find out what kind of an "investigative team" it is, that within the current environment of freedom of information has aired so much unverified information without looking at the organization's website, without visiting its office and familiarizing itself with the organization's work personally. I urge Haylur to provide an explanation regarding the deliberate fabrication of facts and data about our organization, as well as to refute the information on the same program and with equal time and to publicly apologize for the misinformation."

Who are the reporters on the Haylur "investigative team"? The fact is, Haylur has no such team. The text of the report was read out by Haylur reporter Arthur Grigoryan. In a telephone conversation with us he insisted that he had just read the text he has been handed and had no information about who had written the piece.

Tatevik Baghdasaryan, the anchorwoman of the program in question, asserted the same thing over the telephone.

In response to our request that he clarify the situation, the executive director of Public Television, Armen Arzumanyan, told us that he had been out of Yerevan that day and suggested that we ask Haylur director Harutun Harutunyan. We were unable to get hold of Harutunyan in his office for two full days. Each time we telephoned, the receptionist asked what the purpose of our call was, told us to wait for a moment, and then eventually said that Harutunyan was out of the office. He was unreachable by cellular phone as well.

A source at Public TV told us that the text of the report had been sent to Haylur from the information service of a state agency.

We were unable to get any clarification from Alexan Harutunyan; according to our information, he was not in Armenia on the day the report was aired.

"There are four different structures overseeing our financial activity. First, USAID; second, the international body of our organization, because we are the Armenian branch of Junior Achievement; third, the board of directors, made up of respected people, such as Jack Berberian, Silva Bezdikian, Joe Kellejian, Steven A. Kradjian, Melik Kumjian and others; fourth, an independent auditing company. They must have known that very well if they looked at our Annual Report. I don't know how I could gotten around these four supervisory structures and concealed funds from them and spent the money on rallies," Armine Hovhannisian said, adding, "We have never had any problem with taxation authorities of Armenia, I don't believe there is anyone else in this country who pays as much tax as I do. I have done everything in accordance with the letter of the law, because I knew this day would come, that one day they would want to get at Raffi and would come and scrutinize my organization."

Haylur also accused JAA of involving teachers in politics, though no teacher was quoted in the report. Teachers and students who received training through Junior Achievement programs and saw the report on TV sent letters to JAA expressing their disappointment with the report and thanking the organization for its work in Armenia.

Armine Hovhannisian is trying to find out why her organization has become a target for Haylur. "I cannot understand it - are we a part of the campaign unleashed against NGOs that are financed by international organizations? Is it a response to the question Raffi addressed to the president of Armenia? Or is it because the elections are coming up?" she wondered.

Concluding its "investigative report" Haylur announced, "Unfortunately, Junior Achievement of Armenia has adopted a 10-15-year modus operandi that has forced many Diasporan Armenians to reconsider their attitude toward the homeland."

But it is Haylur's dissemination of misinformation that may force a number of Diaspora Armenians to reconsider their attitude toward the homeland.

And if Haylur fails to refute this misinformation, Jack Berberian and Armine Hovhannissian will in all probability attempt to do so in court.


February 10, 2006

Asbarez Online
By Garen Yegparian

We've all heard about it.
Some of us know of it first hand.
Some of us snicker about it.
Others brag about their exploits with it.
Some of us are oblivious to it or its horror.

Human trafficking is a long established "tradition." Whatever you call it--slavery, indentured servitude, domestic labor, prostitution, child pornography--they're all just gradations of the same thing.

Sometimes it might be innocuous. You know, you've got a maid who's in the US illegally. You've got a live-in from Armenia taking care of your kids to ease your (arguably) harried life. How about the Filipinas found in snooty Lebanese households? Or the Indian laborers in the Gulf States? You can see the steepening of the slippery slope of decreasing checks on abusive "masters" and even fewer rights and safeguards for these hard-working people.

But what takes the cake is trafficking done for the sex trade. This is not only about going to Thailand to land a virgin. We're talking about moving hundreds, thousands of (usually) girls across borders. Not only do many Asian countries supply this flow, but so do the states of the former Soviet Union (FSU). Guess who's included on that list? Better yet, guess what country has become a hub of this industry, with $3.6 billion in PROFITS from it last year. Turkey. And that's above and beyond the profits from the LEGAL sex industry there.

What triggered this article was a friend telling me two stories he'd heard. One occurs close at hand, if I understood correctly, in the LA area. Five women have been brought from Armenia and now live with five men. Cook, clean, have sex, the whole gamut, with no strings attached--except providing room and board. After some months, they swap the women among themselves. Jarring enough for you? How about this one? On a visit to his home in the panhandle of Iran, an Armenian visits an old family friend, a Turk. This guy asks our visitor to talk to his son's bride-to-be to tell her they're good people and not to worry. A bit confused, our friend asks the reason for the request. Well, you see, she only speaks Armenian since she was purchased as a bride from Armenia. When alone, he asks her why she's done this. Her reply? "Isn't it better than whoring myself out."

Apocryphal? Exaggerated? Maybe. But there's something going on, from LA to the Persian Gulf, and it stinks. Ara Manoogian, a repatriate and grandson of Shahan Natalie has made a documentary about Armenian sex trafficking. It was recently shown in Glendale. Unfortunately, I missed it.

Interestingly, in the period of time since I decided to write this piece, the LA Times has made two references to sex trafficking in Turkey. One was a whole article dedicated to it, relating that more than half of the estimated 5,000 women working as sex slaves are from Ukraine and Moldova. It's not a challenge to guess whence another significant chunk of that number emanates, especially since we've all heard about it anyway.

Of course human rights organizations are working to curb this heinous abuse. They sometimes send people posing as seekers of sex to ferret out where the women are to rescue them or nab the organizers. What's really interesting is the killing of a priest in Trabizon. Some attribute it to rising Islamic fundamentalism. Some write it off as the work of a lone loony. But according to the LA Times there's also suspicion that it's related to organized crime and sex trafficking since that priest had been involved in fighting the "export" of women from the from the FSU, prior to his arrival in Turkey two years ago.

So tell me, are you surprised, shocked, stunned by future-EuroUnion-member-Turkey's place in all this? Does it make you wonder how we've degraded ourselves so much from the time when our ancestors died rather than give up something even as easily retrievable as their religion? Would it bother anybody if someone started knocking off the pimps responsible for this abomination?

Friday, February 24, 2006


By Aris Ghazinyan
ArmeniaNow reporter

Eighty-five years ago, on March 15, 1921, Armenian avenger Soghomon Tehleryan shot dead in Berlin the former general chairman of the Young Turks party, interior minister, Grand Vizier of Turkey Mehmet Talaat Pasha.

One of the main culprits responsible for the annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians and developer of the plan of Genocide, who said that `only one Armenian must be preserved in the world, and that as an exhibit in a museum' was hiding in the German capital not only from the punishment of Armenian avengers, but also from the War Tribunal that sentenced him to death in July 1919. The future founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal still then accused the leaders of the Young Turks of trammelling the country into World War One and exterminating Armenians. Talaat-pasha was hiding in Berlin under another person's passport and lived at a secret address. He was tracked down by Armenian avengers on January 28, 1921 at a Berlin railway station and was shot dead in the street on March 15.

This action was implemented as part of the Nemesis program (by the name of Greek goddess of Revenge and Fair Punishment) adopted by the 9th congress of Armenia's ruling Dashnaktsutyun party in the fall of 1919. Time went by from the moment when the War Tribunal published its verdict, but the world did not seem to be in a hurry...

The congress had considered 650 names of executors and accomplices in the genocide and chose 41 `main culprits': the members of the sinister triumvirate hiding from revenge in different parts of the world were under the top targets:

The former Interior Minister of the Young Turks government, Talaat-pasha, former Minister of the Navy Cemal-pasha and former War Minister Enver-pasha. It was they who had published a document on undertaking necessary measures to liquidate the Armenian nation. Shahan Natali and Grigor Merzhanov were charged with the leadership and material provision of the punitive operation.

Talaat-pasha (March 1921), Said Halimi, the chairman of the first cabinet of ministers of the Young Turks government (December 1921), Cemal Azmi - Governor of Trabzon (April 1922), Cemal-pasha - former minister of the navy (July 1922) and many others would fall victim to Nemesis.

The third leader of the Young Turks triumvirate - former War Minister Enver who was hiding from Armenian revenge would have to flee to Central Asia where he would die in 1922 in one of the skirmishes with a Red Army detachment led by Hakob Melkumyan. Within two years the Armenian avengers tracked down and liquidated several dozen criminals responsible for the Genocide: no passer-by was hurt in the operations... The trial of Soghomon Tehleryan in Berlin in June 1921 fully acquitted him.

These years later, though, Turkey intends to implement anti-Armenian actions as part of the special `Big Project-2006'. Special structures have been set up at the state level for its consistent realization. For instance, a Consultative Department led by the former president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Rauf Denktash was established. It is supposed to organize a Talaat-pasha campaign. In a meeting in Istanbul on January 18 the Department in its turn elected an executive committee, which has already got down to the immediate preparations for a whole series of events timed to the 85th anniversary of the action of retribution. Part of these events will be held in Berlin on March 15-19.

Some idea of the contents and orientation of these events can be formed from the appeals of the Consultative Department to the Bundestag (German Parliament) and compatriots living abroad. The appeal to Berlin contains a demand to `revoke the decision about the massacre of Armenians (the matter concerns the resolution adopted on June 16, 2005), not to publish in textbooks the lie about the massacre of Armenians', as well as `stop the implantation of hatred towards Turks living in Germany.'

It is said in the appeal to compatriots that `Big Project - 2006' sets itself the task of stirring a 70-million-strong Turkish nation, as well as four million Turks in Europe and a million Turks in the United States, against lies and contains a promise that `the West will soon see their strength'. These Turks must demand from the governments of European countries and instances of the European Union that they should invalidate all resolutions recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

`The Western countries must drop unfair accusations of Turks; otherwise their capitals will be in flames as it was with Paris.' The appeal concludes with a brazen threat to the European countries and their peoples: `Meddling in the internal life of Turkey, you are dragging Europe into an abyss of internal discords.'

The second appeal is signed by the ruling Justice and Prosperity party, as well as the opposition People's Republic Party, the Motherland party and the Labor Party. The appeal reads: `From now on, we will defend Turkey in Western centers through the five million Turks who live in these countries. Getting five million Turks to rise to their feet, we will show our strength to western countries in their capitals. Defensive lines will be created in the administrative centers of these countries, in particular in Berlin, Paris, London and Brussels.'

Of peaceful events so far announced have been: March 15 - a minute of silence in memory of Talaat in the street in Berlin where he was assassinated; March 18 - a march and rally under the motto: `Stop the Lie about Pogroms of Armenians!'; March 19 - a congress dedicated to Talaat. By the way, in 1943, following a special order from Hitler, the ashes of Talaat were reburied in Istanbul with great honors - the operation was led by Secretary of the National-Socialist Party Martin Borman. Later, Mustafa Kemal confessed to the widow of Talaat, Airia-khanum: `I was wrong when I testified against him. He was right: all Armenians should have been exterminated.'

Thursday, February 23, 2006

KCET Not to Air "The Armenian Genocide" Documentary

Armenian News Network / Groong
February 23, 2006


As the controversy unfolds over the decision by PBS to air a panel discussion which gives Armenian Genocide deniers equal air time immediately after it airs Andrew Goldberg's new documentary "The Armenian Genocide" on April 17 2006, over 11,000 people have now petitioned PBS to cancel the offensive panel discussion.

Since individual PBS stations ultimately choose the programs which they wish to air, we contacted KCET to inquire if they planned to broadcast the panel discussion after the documentary in Los Angeles. We discovered that KCET is not planning to broadcast the new documentary at all. "Although we will not be airing Andrew Goldberg's "Armenian Genocide," we have aired Mr. Goldberg's documentaries in the past and will certainly consider others in the future" wrote the KCET web correspondent.

"In January we began to explore programming that would be appropriate to air in this special time period. We are always proactive about searching out unique series and specials that reflect the interests of our diverse audiences and that pay tribute to important heritage celebrations" wrote the web correspondent.

KCET will be airing two Armenian-related documentaries in April 2006. Hagop Goudsouzian's "My Son Shall Be Armenian" (2004) and Laurence Jourdan's "Le Géenocide Arménien" (2005). The latter's broadcast will be its American television premiere.

Asked why KCET would not be airing Andrew Goldberg's documentary, the web correspondent replied "we feel that the programs we have chosen are of the highest quality and offer both Armenian and non-Armenian viewers thoughtful and compelling stories about this important culture and its history."

Contacted in New York, Emmy award winning director Andrew Goldberg wrote "I was saddened to hear KCET was not running our PBS show, "The Armenian Genocide". But in my experience, schedules at stations are often changed to accommodate varying circumstances and I am hopeful they will reconsider."

The production of two documentaries in two languages in 2005 about the Armenian Genocide is a clear indication of rising international interest in exposing the circumstances of this tragedy to wide audiences and putting an end to denial and historical revision. There is no reason for KCET, operating in the largest American Armenian market in the U.S., not to broadcast both brand new documentaries about the Armenian Genocide to an audience which has seen neither. We recommend that readers contact KCET and urge the station to add the Two Cats production of Andrew Goldberg's documentary "The Armenian Genocide" to its April broadcast schedule.

KCET's contact information is at:

Viewer/Online Services:
tel: (323) 953-5238

Program Information:
tel: (323) 953-5238
Live assistance available Mon-Fri
Recorded information 24/7

KCET Program Submissions

PBS Should Not Let Turkey Stifle Honest Free Speech in USA Through Dishonest, Fraudulent “free” Speech

Friday February 10, 2006

Executive Publisher & Managing Editor
USA Armenian Life Magazine
Hye Kiank Armenian Weekly

Recently, it was learned that on April 17, PBS will air “The Armenian Genocide”, a documentary produced by Andrew Goldberg’s Two Cat Productions.

In addition to broadcasting the documentary, PBS is said to be planning to air a 25-minute long panel discussion that includes two genocide deniers.

It is widely believed that PBS may have given in on Turkish denialist government’s pressures. Pro-truth and pro-justice activists in USA and around the world, were alarmed by a strongly-worded opinion column by world-renown political commentator Harut Sassounian (Please see page E7).

In this writer’s opinion the decision by PBS to air the panel discussion is ill-devised. PBS should not give in to the denialist Turkish government, and worst, should not let Turkey stifle honest free speech in USA through dishonest “free” speech. No speech is free, when it is saddled by fraudulent comments made by willful deniers who knowingly lie about the historic facts of the 1915 Armenian Genocide that
continues to affect a whole nation.

As of Tuesday night, only a few hours after the worldwide web-casting of Sassounian’s column numerous reactions began to come in. One such response is a
letter by Mr. Emil Sanamyan of Arlington, Virginia, USA.

In his remarks to Ms. Atlas of PBS, Mr. Sanamyan wrote: “I am an avid PBS viewer and supporter, living in Arlington, VA. I am writing in regard to the Armenian Genocide documentary which is due to air on PBS on April 17. While I commend you for the decision to carry this program, I object to the subsequent panel discussion that includes unabashed deniers of the Genocide.”

He continued: “I hope you will drop this panel and let the documentary, which incorporates a number of diverse Turkish voices on this issue, to stand on its

The political war between the righteous individuals, organizations, and governments acknowledging the 1915-23 Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Turks, on the one side, and the denialists, on the other, has been intensifying during the last decade.

Officialdom Turkey and its cronies have been waking up from one nightmare to face yet new and even more troubling nightmares in their desperate futile attempts to cover up and/or deny the historic facts of the Armenian Genocide.

The denialists seem to be especially troubled by rising new waves of home-grown Turkish righteous individuals like Halil Berktay, Orhan Pamuk, Taner Akcam, Fatima Muge Gocek, Yigit Bener, Ahmet Altan, Elif Shafak -to name afew- who have dared to cross the denialist “rubicon” in clear defiance of their Turkish denialist government.

Even more troubling for the Turkish denialists, is the growing ranks of activists -regardless of their race, color or religion- demanding the acknowledgment of a
crime that occurred 91 years ago.

Obviously, Mr. Ali Birand was more than correct in his prediction that he had made nearly a year ago.

Mr. Birand, a Turkish commentator had predicted and warned his readers that in 2005, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide, that an Armenian Tsunami may be flooding the international arena, dealing the Turkish denialists a serious blow.

With the way pro-truth and pro-justice activism is progressing, Mr. Birand may surely predict unrelenting political Hurricane Armenia not only in the days to come in 2006, but in the years to follow, until such time as the denialist Turks come to their senses and acknowledge that, what is now called Turkey is “built”on the ashes of Western Armenia, and her 1.5 million martyrs.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bush administration further rewards human traffickers

You have to ask yourself the question of if President Bush’s administration is too close with the U.A.E. government?

This recent deal that is cooking with the intention of turning over of six major U.S. seaports to Dubai Ports, a U.A.E. government run company, and the Presidential decision to lift sanctions for trafficking of human beings imposed on the U.A.E., I really have to ask the question of if the Bush administration is in bed with the U.A.E. government?

There are so many things that when pieced together does not add up.

For instance, Bush has made statements in the passed that the proceeds of human trafficking are used to support terrorist operations.

In a recent statement, Bush was quoted as saying, "This is a company [Dubai Ports] that has played by the rules, has been cooperative with the United States, from a country that's an ally on the war on terror, and it would send a terrible signal to friends and allies not to let this transaction go through."

So which is it President Bush, are they an ally on the war on terror, or are they a supporting terror with the proceeds from trafficking human beings?

On October 18th, 2005, I had a meeting with someone who worked for the Department of State in front of the Armenia Hotel and I asked this person about what was going on with the sanctions against the U.A.E. for being placed on Tier 3, which is the black list of countries who are found to be the biggest violators of trafficking humans?

The Department of State worker told me that unfortunately their recommendations fell on deaf ears and Bush decided to lift sanctions for reasons they didn’t agree with.

So the big question I have for Washington and all those that support the recent proposed arrangement with the turnover of six major seaports is why?

American PBS: Soapbox for Armenian Genocide Deniers

Jewish Holocaust denier David Irving was sentenced to three-years in prison Monday by an Austrian court for denying the Holocaust in two 1989 speeches.

Just imagine if courts of world pasted similar jail time to Armenian genocide deniers. No such luck. Our people’s nightmare gets a sugar coating.

As I've noted on my February 18th journal entry, American PBS will soon air a documentary film titled "The Armenian Genocide", which will sadly facilitate a post-film discussion-panel. Will this be just another a proverbial soapbox transmit for Armenian genocide deniers? Probably. Personally speaking, I’m against such discussions and have zero tolerance for such “intellectually coated” shenanigans. There’s nothing rational or intellectually stimulating about discussing such a horrific historical fact on public television with a bunch of back-room dealing academics and so called historical experts.

It's Time to Take M.O.B. ACTION!

*Please sign the online petition and forward it to as many people as possible. More than 10,000 people have already signed it.

*Send e-mails to Jacoba Atlas at urging her not to provide air time to genocide deniers.

* Since the individual PBS stations are the ones that decide whether to air the panel discussion or not, contact your local PBS station and urge them not to broadcast the post-show. To find your local PBS station, go to, enter your zip code and click next. When you see the logo of your local station, click next again. This would give you the phone/fax numbers as well as mail and e-mail addresses of your local station.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

GOP Governors Question Port Turnover

AP - 7 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Two Republican governors on Monday questioned a Bush administration decision allowing an Arab-owned company to operate six major U. S. ports, saying they may try to cancel lease arrangements at ports in their states. New York Gov. George Pataki and Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich voiced doubts about the acquisition of a British company that has been running the U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates.

Monday, February 20, 2006

AKA Muhammad Abdul-Aziz

YEREVAN, Armenia -- Jermaine Jackson has revealed plans to build an entertainment complex in Armenia and said he hoped that his brother, Michael Jackson, will join in a reunion concert marking its opening.

Jackson, a singer and bass guitar player who has pursued a solo career, was recently on a 12-day visit to this landlocked Caucasus Mountain nation. The 51-year-old said the complex could include a hotel, a restaurant and a television company.

For the record, Jermaine (aka Muhammad Abdul-Aziz) is a converted muslim and sympathizer of the American nation of islam. I just don't understand brother Abdul-Aziz, why Christian Armenia ?

Saturday, February 18, 2006


Zerkalo, Baku
18 Feb 06

Excerpt from Ceyran's report by Azerbaijani newspaper Zerkalo on 18 February headlined "An Azerbaijani child costs 29,000 dollars" and subheaded "Rights campaigner Yusif Bakirov says that the lack of a moratorium on adoption creates conditions for child trafficking"

"Children in Azerbaijan have long been the victim of unscrupulous officials who use them as a source of wealth," said Yusif Bakirov, the head of the Children's Rights Defence League, at a press conference yesterday. The press conference was dedicated to problems of trafficking in children, to whose well-being a significant blow has been dealt thanks to problems in our country's legislation.

Azerbaijan joined the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and shouldered the relevant obligations more than 13 years ago.

But nevertheless, to this day the situation concerning the fulfilment of the convention in Azerbaijan is in a deplorable state.

As Bakirov told journalists, the given situation grew even worse after our parliament introduced a law allowing foreign citizens to adopt Azerbaijani children. As a rule, adoption is a very complex and thorny process, one that includes the Ministries of Health, Education, Justice and so on and ends with the Cabinet of Ministers.

But with all the complexity of this process in the country, there are no oversight mechanisms that would allow for its legal realization.

This is why, as Bakirov pointed out, the majority of adoptions proceed according to a covert scheme. And, in conclusion, he noted that from 2000 to 2004 there were 142 cases of foreigners adopting children from orphanages through illegal means.

"Someone has gained significantly from this business. It is a secret to no-one that the average price of an Azerbaijani child is 29,000 dollars. Multiply this figure by 142 and you get a monetary benefit of 4m dollars," he stressed. He said that above all the parties interested in the absence of a moratorium are traffickers and officials of various rank who seek material profit.

[Passage omitted]

No less troubling, Bakirov considers, is the fact that international organizations have shown particular indifference. One of them - UNICEF - is supposedly obligated to press the Azerbaijani government to codify these issues in legislative order. But UNICEF, unfortunately, prefers to remain silent as unscrupulous people continue to carry out their shady deeds.

"What it amounts to is that there is a law on adoption, but no relevant moratorium. Moreover, there is no strict measure of punishment for cases of illegal trafficking in children. Criminals can get away with administrative punishments. What is it to them to pay a fine of 100 dollars, when there are deals worth millions of dollars in
play?" laments the rights activist, adding that he may have to resort to a hunger strike. Maybe then his voice will finally be heard.

By the way, while answering journalists' questions, Bakirov presented curious facts about infant mortality in Azerbaijan. He said that our country ranks 48th among world nations in terms of infant mortality, whereas Armenia ranks 94th and Georgia - 98th. Maybe for this reason the government will seriously start to think about all these problems so that one fine day Azerbaijan is not faced with a demographic
Inside Out: Judge’s 6 vehicles = $61,000. Judge’s apartment = $100,000. Judge’s annual salary = $7,704. . . Building dispute opens door on potential profits of jurisprudence

By Vahan Ishkhanyan
ArmeniaNow reporter

A dispute over a door has opened a window into the finances of a Yerevan judge, revealing a mass of wealth far greater than his moderate salary provided by the Ministry of Justice.

The judge (shown in an archive photo) gets hot under the collar when asked about his acquisitions

The judge, whose salary is about $642 a month, owns six cars (including those given to his sons) worth about $61,000, a house in the resort town of Tsaghkadzor, and a four room Yerevan apartment into which he invested about $100,000 in 2002. He later purchased two other apartments.

In November, Judge Suren Kostanyan, superior of the Court of First Instance of the Erebuni Community, helped pay for installation of a coded door at the entryway to the building where he lives, at 22 Isahakyan Street.

Some residents welcomed the security door, saying that it stops unwanted vagrants from using their entry as a hostel or toilet.

But the door also effectively shuts out potential customers from the first-floor currency exchange office and a music shop run by brothers Vahan and Arman Karimyan.

To enter the building, visitors must ring residents and identify themselves by intercom. Residents can enter using a key. The Karimyans argue that the security system shuts out walk-in customers, and cuts off the brothers’ livelihood.

“My kiosk of records operated since 1997, it is my daily bread, but in fact they seized it from me,” says Vahan Karimyan.

Karimyan says he has not been given a key and that, were he to lease the space, he could make $200 a month.

As it is, he can enter the building only through the entry to another business, VivaCell (the space is owned by the Karimyans, who lease it to VivaCell) whose offices has an outside door.

“They installed the door, and they don’t give me a key,” says Vahan.

Four co-owners of Karimyan’s unit appealed to the Ministry of Justice for disciplinary proceedings to be instituted against the judge and his powers of a judge to be terminated.

Judge Kostanyan flies into fury when he hears about the door problem.

“If not one of the complainants has resided there since the time I moved in, how can I be an obstacle to them,” says Kostanyan. “The entrance is for general use and it is the property of all residents. Let it be theirs, but do not let their using it create problems for me.”

Kostanyan says the Karimyan’s music recording business (making and selling customized CDs or cassettes) became a nuisance for him and other residents.

“It was an unbearable situation,” the judge says. “From 8 a.m., with loud speakers on, he was recording until 11 p.m. Then, homeless people would get inside. The entrance became a toilet, they did everything there. It was impossible to live.”

Kostanyan says there were times when his wife was afraid to enter the building because of street dogs that gathered in the entrance.

The judge says the door was legally installed with the approval of the regional council for the Kentron district.

Resident Vilen Atyan helped pay for the door to be installed and says it has made the building a more livable space.

“Embattled” Judge: The new entrance door opens the coffers of Judge Suren Kostanyan. Aren’t 25 years of work for jurisprudence enough for an easy life? Share your thoughts in ArmeniaNow’s forums.

“The only bad thing is that the guys lost their business,” Atyan says.

The judge says the Karimyans could install an intercom and let it operate by the same method as the residential units, but that he opposes the idea of a common entry for business and residential use.

“Let them sue, me, the council, the other residents,” Kostanyan says.

While, according to law judges are exempt from criminal and administrative prosecution, they can be sued in civil cases. For now, Vahan Karimyan has filed a 40-page complaint with the Ministry of Justice.

In the course of preparing the complaint, an attorney for Karimyan compiled information that raises questions about Judge Kostanyan’s means of livelihood. The judge’s financial status is fuel to the flame for those who see Armenia’s legal system as harboring opportunists who bend the law for profit and are themselves above the law.

ArmeniaNow asked the judge to account for how he could afford such expensive property and vehicles on his salary.

Indignant, Kostanyan angrily replied:

“I am a judge, why shouldn’t I have the right to have a Mercedes? (The judge has one Mercedes for work and another – a 600SL for private use.) My son is a doctor, shouldn’t he have a car? My other son is Armenia’s representative to the European court, shouldn’t he have a car?”

The Ministry of Justice replied to Karimyan’s complaint by saying that the matter should be addressed through proper legal channels.

One caveat, however, is that Minister of Justice David Harutyunyan, the republic’s final arbiter of judgment, is a close friend of Kostanyan’s. Harutyunyan is in fact the godfather of Kostanyan’s sons and one of Kostanyan’s sons is an advisor to the Minister.

As details of the door complaint and of Kostanyan’s finances have emerged, the judge maintains that there is no conflict of interest either in his professional or personal life.

“David Harutyunyan was the kavor (best man) at my sons’ wedding parties,” Kotanyan says. “A man has children, why shouldn’t these children have a kavor, he raised his child, why should his child remain without a kavor? Do you have a kavor, do your children have? If you come tomorrow and say: be a kavor to my children, won’t I? David Harutyunyan was a teacher when I already worked in the judicial system (Kostanyan has been in the judicial system since 1981, he was a Supreme Court judge, and later chairman of the Mashtots District Court).”

Opponents of Judge Kostanyan have turned the door debate into part of an interdepartmental squabble. ArmeniaNow has learned that relations between the judge and the Erebuni prosecutor are so strained that they don’t even answer each other’s messages.

Relations between the Prosecutor General and the Justice Minister are also known to be strained.

Vahan Karimyan and his lawyer say they have evidence of other Kostanyan property and that he has total real estate holdings worth more than a million dollars. Such wealth, however, is not something extraordinary for a judge in Armenia.

Armenian-Americans Outraged By Panel Discussion On genocide

RFE/RL Armenia Report - 02/17/2006
By Jocelyne Zablit, AFP

A panel-discussion about the Armenian genocide to be aired on U.S. television has prompted protests among Armenian Americans outraged by the presence of two genocide deniers on the program.

The panel discussion is to be aired by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) on April 17 following a one-hour documentary -- "The Armenian Genocide" by Andrew Goldberg -- which describes the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks in the final years of the Ottoman Empire.

The four panelists invited to discuss the issue include Justin McCarthy, a University of Louisville professor, and Omer Turan, a Turkish historian. Both men question whether the 1915 mass killings could be classified as genocide. PBS said it had invited the two scholars in a bid to offer an alternative viewpoint and encourage discussion.

"We don't step back from controversy just because it's controversial," Lea Sloan, vice president of media relations at PBS, told AFP. "In this case, because there has been such heated debate about the topic, we thought that further debate could help illuminate the issue." She said the network had no plans to cancel broadcast of the 30-minute panel discussion.

Armenian Americans say McCarthy's and Turan's presence on the show amounted to inviting Holocaust or civil rights deniers to air their views. "One would think that if there was a documentary on the Holocaust or civil rights movement, that there wouldn't be a follow-up panel discussion where you have Holocaust deniers or Ku Klux Klan members sitting down and discussing these issues," Elizabeth Chouldjian, spokeswoman for the Armenian National Committee of America, told AFP.

Chouldjian said while Armenian Americans welcome the airing of the documentary, the community felt offended that two deniers of the genocide would be given a platform on national television. "If somebody wants to do an analysis of why denial of genocide occurs in general and bring in the case of the Armenian genocide, that's certainly understandable," Chouldjian said. "But bringing in deniers ... is

"It will be misleading the viewing public on this topic and it's a disservice to viewers."

An online petition calling on PBS to cancel the broadcast has gathered nearly 7,000 signatures and Armenian Americans, estimated to number 1.5 million, are being urged to write letters of protest to PBS.

The U.S. administration has consistently stopped short of callings the killings a genocide. However several other countries, including France, Canada and Switzerland, recognize them as such.

Kocharian Adviser Elected Ombudsman

RFE/RL Armenia Report - 02/17/2006
By Astghik Bedevian and Ruzanna Khachatrian

The National Assembly elected a longtime aide to President Robert Kocharian as Armenia's new human rights ombudsman on Friday in a second vote in just over a week that reaffirmed its loyalty to the head of state.

Armen Harutiunian, who has advised Kocharian on constitutional law, was backed by 87 of the 131 members of the assembly. His opposition challenger, Hrant Khachatrian, got only 28 votes, slightly more than the number of parliament seats controlled by the Armenian opposition.

`As human rights defender, I will be cooperating with all factions and deputies of the National Assembly,' Harutiunian told lawmakers after the announcements of the vote results. `I will try to live up to your expectations.'

Harutiunian unexpectedly failed to garner the required minimum of 79 votes in the first vote that took place last week. Its surprise outcome reportedly irked Kocharian who discussed the issue with leaders of this three-party governing coalition at an emergency meeting on Wednesday. According to some newspaper reports, he suspects them of secretly undercutting his candidate.

Speaking at the debate that preceded Friday's vote, opposition deputies accused the pro-government majority of bowing to pressure from Kocharian. `Armen Harutiunian represents Robert Kocharian. Why do you want to impose Kocharian's candidate on the people?' said Grigor Harutiunian of the Artarutyun alliance.

`Nobody has intimidated anyone,' responded parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian.

One of Baghdasarian's two deputies, Tigran Torosian, dismissed opposition claims that the parliament majority is effectively nullifying one of the recently enacted amendments to the Armenian constitution that transferred the authority to appoint the human rights official from the president to the parliament. `Whether or not the coalition parties consulted with the president of the republic does not violate any
article of the constitution,' he said.

For his part, Harutiunian assured reporters after his election for a six-year term that he will seek to be independent of the executive branch. `I am ready to go against both the government and the opposition if human rights are violated,' he said.

Still, the 42-year-old lawyer made it clear last week that he will be far less confrontational in his dealings with government and law-enforcement bodies that his predecessor Larisa Alaverdian, who earned acclaim from Armenian civic groups during her two-year tenure. The authorities' decision not to re-appoint Alaverdian as ombudsperson under the amended constitution is widely attributed to her high-profile criticism of their human rights record.

Talat Pasha Movement angers Germany

The New Anatolian / Ankara
18 Feb. 2006

Perincek and Denktas to lead protest in Berlin on March 18 to denounce Armenian genocide claims. Announcement for demonstration says, 'If Western capitals don't want to be burnt like Paris, unjust treatment towards Turkey should be ended,' which angers Germany

A demonstration aimed at denouncing the Armenian genocide claims, to be held in Berlin on March 18 under the slogan "Take your flag and come to Berlin," is sowing tension between Turkey and Germany.

The announcement for the demonstration read, "If Western capitals don't want to be burnt like Paris, unjust treatment towards Turkey should be ended" and has angered Germany and German Embassy officials in Ankara held talks with Turkish officials over the issue this week.

Workers' Party (IP) leader Dogu Perincek and former Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas will lead the planned demonstration with the participation of many representatives from Turkish political parties. The main aim of the group is to put pressure on the German Parliament to null or void recognition of the Armenian genocide claims. The initiative of the group, also known as the "Talat Pasha Movement," also aims to attract some 5 million supporters, including some 1,000 from Turkey. The slogans for the demonstration are "Take your flag and come to Berlin" and "End the Armenian 'genocide' lies."

One of the leaders of the group, Denktas, is expected to lay flowers where Talat Pasha was assassinated on March 15, 1921 in Berlin by an Armenian and a general assembly to commemorate Talat Pasha is scheduled to be held in Berlin on March 19.

The same group last year also held a demonstration to mark the 82nd anniversary of the Treaty of Lausanne. At that demonstration Perincek lashed out at a decision by Switzerland to punish those who deny the Armenian genocide claims, saying, "The Armenian 'genocide' is an international lie," after which the prosecutor from Winterthur opened an investigation into Perincek and the incident turned into a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Switzerland.

Friday, February 17, 2006

for Justice and Democracy

Avenue de la Renaissance 10
B-1000 Bruxelles
Tel: +322 732 70 26
Tel/Fax: +322 732 70 27

For immediate release

February 16, 2006
Contact: Vartenie ECHO
Tel: +322 732 70 26


BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - The European Parliament today overwhelmingly adopted a resolution condemning the Azerbaijani government's destruction of the Armenian cemetery in Djulfa, a unique archaeological treasure located in the Nakhichevan autonomous republic administered by Azerbaijan.

The resolution, which was approved by a vote of 85 to 5, noted that, "serious allegations have been raised about the involvement of the Azerbaijani authorities in the destruction of these monuments" and stressed that " Azerbaijan has not provided answers [on this matter to] the former special rapporteur of the United Nations." Based on these and other findings, the European Parliament "strongly condemns the destruction of the Djulfa cemetery [.]" and "demands that Azerbaijan allow missions dedicated to surveying and protecting the archaeological heritage on its territory, especially Armenian heritage [.]." The measure also asks Azerbaijan to "allow a European Parliament delegation to visit the archaeological site at Djulfa."

"We extend our warmest congratulations to the Members of the European Parliament for the principled and comprehensive nature of this condemnation. We regret, however, attempts, especially from the European Greens, to obscure Azerbaijan's crime by drawing fake parallels with alleged destruction of cultural sites by Armenia," stated Hilda Tchoboian, the Chairperson of the European Armenian Federation.

The European Armenian Federation calls upon the presidency of the European Parliament to promptly send the parliamentary delegation called for in this resolution to survey the destruction of Djulfa.

The Federation also expressed its hope that this European initiative will encourage other national, multilateral and international bodies to condemn the Djulfa destruction with the same energy that they devoted to their protests in 2001 of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Feb 14 2006

Armenia has denied today allegations by an Azerbaijani official who alleged that president Robert Kocharian had broken off negotiations with his Azeri counterpart in French Rambouillet on February 11.

"In fact Armenian president suggested in Rambouillet that the talks (over the settlement of the Karabakh conflict) be summed up after it became clear that it was impossible to reach agreement. President Kocharian values his time and believes that imitation of talks is not serious," a spokesman for Kocharian, Viktor Soghomonian told Armenpress when asked to comment on an announcement by Novruz Mamedov, a senior official in Azerbaijani president's administration, that Kocharian had suspended talks unexpectedly citing insignificant reasons.

"I would not like to judge about the true intentions behind Mr. Mamedov's allegations, but nevertheless his allegations show that he is a poorly-educated medium-level official, who allows himself to interpret the actions of the president of another country,' Soghomonian said.


15.02.2006 19:35 GMT+04:00

February 14 the editorial board of Observer Baku-based weekly gathered to discuss the conduct of head of the political department Roman Temnikov, who paid an authorized visit to Nagorno Karabakh.

Editor-in-Chief Gyulnara Mamedzade and her two assistants "unanimously censured Temnikov's deed conflicting with the ethics of an Azeri journalist, which prohibits any contacts with representatives of Karabakh.

The editorial board decided to dismiss Roman Temnikov. To remind, representative of "Peace, Democracy, Culture" organization, head of the political department of Observer Baku-based weekly Roman Temnikov visited Stepanakert by invitation of "Hayk's Generation" organization within the framework of "Our Home Caucasus" project. As reported by Karabakh Online, Temnikov said he has visited the republic for the first time and the impressions are good. "You have managed to reconstruct the city after the war. I expected a different welcome but as you see I am sage and sound," he said. Temnikov is going to meet with the NKR Minister of Education, Culture and Sport. Meetings with the Speaker of Karabakh parliament and representatives of youth organizations are as well expected.


15.02.2006 19:52 GMT+04:00

"I rate Robert Kocharian's move as discrediting the whole Azeri nation. Having broken off the bilateral negotiations the Armenian President showed his attitude to the aspiration to establish peace in the region," National Democratic Party of Azerbaijan Iskender Gamidov said. "I suppose after it Azerbaijan should find the strength to refuse from the OSCE Minsk Group mediation, since the accompaniment of the Armenian leader by Yuri Merzlyakov proved once again how far the mediators are from the principles of fair settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict," he said. In Gamidov's opinion the problem "should be settled by force only."

To remind, Azeris said the Armenian party abandoned the negotiations before their completion. When commenting on the statements Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian called them absurd. "The Armenian President was in Rambouillet two days long and he returned to Yerevan on term", the RA FM stated.


Public Television of Armenia
14 Feb 06

President Robert Kocharyan today met members of the ruling coalition. According to the official source, the members of the coalition presented the developments in the parliament connected with the election of the new ombudsman.

It was decided that the coalition would call the parliament's extraordinary session on 17 February and back Armen Arutunyan's candidacy for the post.

The president also informed the coalition members about the results of the Paris talks.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Another Monopoly is Formed in Armenia?


Noyan Tapan
Feb 13 2006

The company Aviaservice that provides land services at Zvartnots Airport has sold its shares to the newly founded company Zvartnots Holding. NT correspondent was informed from a reliable source that the transaction was concluded under a concessional agreement signed in 2002 between the Armenian government and the company Armenia International Airports - the manager of Zvartnots Airport. Based on it, Zvarnots' manager shall perform the function of providing all land services at the airport. This information was not refuted at the airport but no details were not given either.

To recap, Aviaservice is owned by the company Multi Group.


Noyan Tapan
Feb 13 2006

14885 criminals were searched by the police during 2005, 1936 or the 13% of them were found out (in 2004, 1780 criminals (the 12.2%) from 14552 were found). Besides that, as Hovhannes Hunanian, the Deputy Head of the RA Police informed at the February 10 press conference, 59 more criminals searched by other states were arrested by the police bodies of the country. It was also mentioned, that 11 cases of trafficking and 11 cases of acting as ponce were revealed in the country in 2005.


| 17:18:29 | 13-02-2006 | Politics |

Today at about 02:20 p.m. on the Aleq Manoukyan street, near the central building of the Yerevan State University a car tried to run over lawyer Marina Janoyan.

The car pulled up abruptly and a 30-year-old tall and stout man came out. He approached Mrs. Janoyan and said with a bad Armenian, "Why do you compromise us? You'd better live quietly. Think about your life".

According to Mrs. Janoyan, those who warn her are representatives of the power structures, and the reason was the press conference she convened on February 9.

Let us remind you that the reason for the press conference was the murder of professor Joshua Hagland of the Yerevan State Linguistic University after V.
Brusov on May 17, 2004. Although almost two years have passed since then, the criminals have not been found. The Yerevan Prosecutor's Office has stopped the case.

During the press conference Mr. Janoyan hinted that the case was stopped with the order of high military officials. She represented a 10-point offer to the Prosecutor's Office asking to re-open the case.

As for the act of terror, Mr. Janoyan managed to memorize that the car was silver and its number started with "64". "Despite everything, I will not give up", Mrs. Janoyan told "A1+".

Monday, February 13, 2006

Armenian-Azerbaijani talks on Nagorny-Karabach fail in France

People's Daily Online, China
Feb 12 2006

The presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia ended Saturday their two-day talks in Rambouillet chateau south of Paris, without reaching any agreement on the Nagorny- Karabakh conflict.

The mediators of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Minsk group -- Russia, United States, France - - announced that the negotiations had made no progress and that the issue was to be reexamined at the beginning of March in Washington.

"In spite of intense discussions, the parties' stand over some sensitive principles remained the same as what they had in recent months," the mediators said in a statement.

It also said that the presidents had ordered their ministers to explore new ways in view of a future settlement.

Russian, French and American mediators will meet at the beginning of March in Washington to negotiate among their three countries and examine the modalities of their future discussions with the ministers, the statement said, without giving further details.

The conflict started from February 1988, when the local assembly of Nagorno-Karabakh made a decision to secede from Azerbaijan and unite with Armenia. A total of 25,000 people died and hundreds of thousands others fled the enclave between 1988 and 1994. In spite of a ceasefire agreement signed in 1994, clashes remain frequent at the

Source: Xinhua

Ian Bremmer: the framework agreement on Karabakh practically ready

Regnum, Russia
Feb 12 2006

New York, 11 February 2006 (Regnum - website)
- The US State Department has great expectations concerning the meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents Robert Kocharyan and Ilham Aliyev in Rambouillet (France). On Thursday, an unnamed official of the US State Department called the meeting the most important event in the talks on Nagorno Karabakh for the last five years. Analysts say, in 2006 a breakthrough will be reached in settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict that has lasted for 18 years. The hopes are backed by a recent stirring up in searching for settlement and by optimistic hints of the parties and mediators' representatives, reports BBC.

Answering the question whether a breakthrough is possible in solving `one of the most bloody conflicts in the post-Soviet territory,' spokesman for the Eurasia Group (New York), which assesses risks in conflict zones, Ian Bremmer said: `Talking to officials of Bush administration, it becomes clear that the parties are close to reaching a preliminary agreement. It seems to me, a framework agreement is practically ready.' As Bremmer thinks, the agreement on Nagorno Karabakh status can become the basis for the breakthrough. However, as the source says, if we judge from hard-edged statements by Aliyev and Kocharyan, and belligerent publications in Azerbaijani and Armenian press, it would be uneasy to reach such an agreement, reports PanARMENIAN.Net.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


| 21:06:23 | 08-02-2006 | Politics |

Answering the questions of the journalists, the NA Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan noted that Larissa Alaverdyan's candidacy is excluded, but there can be other candidates for the post of the Ombudsman.

According to the Prime Minister, he is for Armen Haroutyunyan not because he is the President's representative but because "I have known him for a long time and he is a good specialist". As for the opinion that Serge Sargsyan has a finger in it, then... "Are you going to connect me with whatever happens in this world?" the Defense Minister noted. In answer to "A1+" question if it is possible that Serge Sargsyan will become the nest Ombudsman, Mr. Sargsyan laughed.

As for why the elections failed today and if the reason was the disorganized coalition, the Prime Minister answered that 10 people did not participate in the elections, and this was were decisive. According to the Prime Minister there is nothing to worry about as the poll was closed.

As for the opposition candidate, the opinions are different. National Unity wants to insist on the candidacy of Ruben Torosyan, but according to our information the latter refuses. The Justice bloc will probably offer a new candidacy. They will make a decision tomorrow before the start of the NA session.


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 8. ARMINFO. Azerbaijani mass media disfigured the statement of the WCO (World Customs Organization) Secretary General Michel Danet and interpreted it to their benefit.

Last week 'Realniy Azerbaijan' on-line newspaper reported the statement of Mr. Danet: 'a part of the territory of Azerbaijan has been occupied by another state, and Azerbaijan can prevent growing drugs on the occupied territories by means of either diplomacy or military'. Mr. Danet allegedly stated that 'Azerbaijan has handed him documents proving that occupied territories are used for growing and transiting drugs'.

The Foreign Ministry of Armenia reports that in connection with the Azerbaijani publication, Armenian Embassy in Bruxelles addressed Michel Danet to comment the statements. In his written answer, February 7, Mr. Danet refuted the statements published by 'Realniy Azerbaijan'. According to the letter, on the press conference in Baku Mr. Danet was asked numerous questions about Nagorno-Karabakh, and to that he answered that WCO is not a political organization and that political matters must be considered by the authorities of the states. Mr. Danet adds that WCO has over 169 member-countries and he has never commented on the political situation in those states.


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 8. ARMINFO. We could make more optimistic forcasts for the peaceful settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict, if not the recent statement of Elmar Mamediarov, Azeri Foreign Minister. Serge Sargsian, RA Defence Minister,satted about this today.

As for the attempts of the Azeri authorities to prepare the public opinion in Azerbaijan for the probable settlement of Nagorno Karabakh comflict, Mr. Sargsian stated it is hard to speak of the plans of the Azeri authorities."One can prepare the public opinion by direct and indirect means. Probably, the Azeri authorities have chosen the very indirect way of public opinion formation. Thus, till the end, even after achieving the probable Agreement,they will keep stating that the Azeri side won the victory," Serge Sargisan emphasized.

It's worth mentioning that Elmar Mamediarov tried hard to solve all doubts of those who suspect the Azeri people in sadistic-masochistic inclinations. Mamediarov made this sensational statement on ANS TV. On the eve of the Paris meeting of the presidents, Mamediarov again stated that Baku will not make principle concessions during the negotiations."In fact, we are offered to be raped and "make the pleasure last for 15 years," cherishing hopes that a miracle will happen and the Armenians of NKR will vote for including NKR in the structure of Azerbaijan. Perhaps, we made impression on the international community that the Azeri people are sadist-masochists, beacuse of our behaviour.But not in this extend," Mamediarov underscored.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Update: February 6, 2006

Dear Friends:

A new article has been posted on Hetq:
The article points out that 5 decisions have been handed down by 13 judges all saying that the Najarian case is a criminal case. The writer of the article asks, “Why are the investigators protecting a criminal at any cost and so openly, and why haven’t the courts’ decisions been implemented?” In the first line of the article, the writer also says that according to information he has received, the investigators have already received their “reward” for dismissing the case.

The Court of Appeals has rendered a powerful 8-page written decision supporting our claims. The court agreed with all other court decision. The judges wrote that George Najarian has been the victim of criminal actions and points out that this fact has been recognized by all three levels of Armenia’s criminal courts. The judges go on to say that since this is now established fact the investigators from the Prosecutor General’s Office must name the suspect. They have written: if it is not Grigor Igityan, than who is it ? Name the person.

The judges wrote: “It is indisputable that US citizen George Najarian is a victim of a crime, that direct property damage was caused to him in the result of a criminal act, such facts having been admitted by all three levels of courts of the Republic of Armenia, and by the investigation as well. All that is left to be done is to identify the person who committed the crime and bring that person to justice.”

These judges did not accept either what the investigators or our lawyers told them. Instead, they requested and reviewed all 13 volumes of evidence gathered by the investigators. Based on their review, the judges criticize the conduct of the investigation and the behavior of the investigators. They enumerate 1)what was not done correctly and what was not done at all; 2) failure of the investigators in their duty for accepting everything Igityan and his wife told them and ignoring all evidence contradicting their statements; 3) failure to put into effect the previous court decisions which become law when they are handed down. This, they note, is in itself a criminal offense.

In addition, the judges charged that the investigators tried to circumvent the law by doing foolish things as well. One instance that is quoted is that the investigators called Igityan’s wife in, showed her one of the court’s decisions and then asked her what she thought. On that basis, they again dismissed the case and ignored the court’s orders. This is, apparently, in the record.

With our appreciation for all the support you have given to us over these more than two years fighting this case. We are hoping that with this decision it will be possible to have another round of writing letters to key Republic of Armenia officials expressing your concern about the state and conduct of our case.

Attached are the list of persons and their email addresses letters went to last time -- they were received.

With our warmest regards,
Carolann and George

1. Foreign Ministry: Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanyan:

2. Ministry of Justice: Minister Davit Harutyunyan:

3. National Assembly: Speaker of the NA is Artur Baghdasaryan:
(If this address bounces back, try:

4. President’s Press Office: Head of the Press Office Hasmik Petrossian:
Kocharian’s fax number is: 374-1-521-581

5. For the Prime Minister:

6. Minister of Defense Serge Sarkisyan’s spokesperson:

7. Advisor to the President on Anti-Corruption strategy: Bagrat Yesayan: adv_yesayan

Recent Cartoon Caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad

A statement on the subject of the cartoon caricatures of
the Prophet Muhammad in the western media,

"Martuni or Bust and its supporters condemn the recent publications of the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, which are openly political propaganda aimed at the adherents of the religion of Islam. The press outlets in Europe, that have recently published these insulting images, in our opinion, have not exceeded the freedom of expression but have gone beyond what is decently ethical. It has hurt large numbers of people and has dealt a blow to the rights of peaceful religiously believing persons everywhere."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


07.02.2006 11:40

The NKR Foreign Ministry is not going to comment of the statements by International Crisis Group Caucasus Project Director Sabine Freizer, who said that "Nagorno Karabakh is the most militarized territory in the world," since the NKR Defense Army numbers 20 thousand people. "Calling NKR the most militarized territory Ms. Freizer first, exaggerates the figures and second, proceeds from the number of military per head.

She is wrong in both cases," NKR MFA member told PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.

The Ministry thinks that any statements made on the threshold of the meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents in Rambouillet February 10-11 may negatively tell upon the negotiations on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement.


Trend news agency
6 Feb 06

Baku, 6 February, Trend correspondent E. Cavadov:
The trial of the commander of a military unit in Tovuz District [western Azerbaijan], Rahim Mammadsarifov, and a division commander in the same unit, Rufat Badirxanov, ended at the Court for Serious Crimes on 6 February. The trial was presided over by judge Mehdi Asadov.

It was found out that that soldier from the same unit Zaur Veyisov [who was arrested in June 2005] had been recruited by the Armenian special services. He shared 1,000 dollars, which he had been paid, with the aforementioned officers in the unit and leaked information on the number of the personnel and weapons to the enemy.

After receiving the money, the commanders transferred Veyisov to another unit in order to cover up the crime. However, the special services detected the crime in April 2005.

The guilt of the officers' was proved. Badirxanov was sentenced to six and Mammadsarifov to five years in prison.


Arminfo, Yerevan
6 Feb 06

Stepanakert, 6 February:
The president of the Nagornyy Karabakh Republic [NKR], Arkadiy Gukasyan, today relieved Mavrik Gukasyan of the post of prosecutor-general of the NKR due to his retirement. The head of the NKR presidential administration, Armen Zalinyan, has been appointed prosecutor-general, the presidential press service has told Arminfo.

Under another presidential decree, the secretary of the NKR Security Council, Karen Baburyan, has been named the head of the presidential administration. Today NKR president Gukasyan introduced the newly-appointed prosecutor-general, Armen Zalinyan, to the employees of the prosecutor's office.

[Passage omitted: Gukasyan urged the new prosecutor to implement reforms]

Monday, February 06, 2006


Interesting article on Armenian women being trafficked into neighboring Turkey posted February 3,2006.

Today in "Hayeli" club the experts in trafficking were trying to find an answer to the question whether Armenia is an "exit", "entrance" or a "transit" country from the point of view of trafficking. The head of "Hope and Assistance" public organization Yenock Shatvorian thinks that the situation in Armenia has changed a great deal in recent years, and what is most important it has changed for the better. If 2 year ago Armenia was in the list of countries of 3rd category where nothing or almost nothing was done to struggle against trafficking, at present even Law bodies are included in the struggle against "white slavery".

The aide of the head of the Investigation Board of Chief Procurators' Office Marsel Matevosian says that according to the 123 article of Criminal Codex (trafficking) 20 criminal cases have been instituted in 2003, and in 2004 and 2005 the number of cases increased which is explained by a more active work of law bodies.

As a result of criminal cases instituted last year 182 victims of trafficking have been registered 36 of which underwent sex exploitation in Armenia, 136 in United Arabian Emirates and 10 in Turkey. Judging by this statistical data the head of scientific-educational centre of the Procurators' Office Artak Haroutyunian states that Armenia is mostly an "exit" country, yet at some extent it can also be listed
among "transit" countries.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Anti-Trafficking Awareness Finally Hits America

The world is finally catching on to our anti-trafficking efforts…check out the Press Release and visit Frontline Online for more info.

Click here for the preview clip.

On Feb. 7, America’s PBS documentary film program FRONTLINE will present a unique hidden camera look at this world of sexual slavery, talking with traffickers and their victims, and exposing the government indifference that allows the abuses to continue virtually unchecked. Sex Slaves also follows the remarkable journey of one man determined to find his trafficked wife by posing as a trafficker himself to buy back her freedom.

An estimated half-million women are trafficked annually for the purpose of sexual slavery. The women are kidnapped -- or lured by traffickers who prey on their dreams of employment abroad -- then they are "exported" to Europe, the Middle East, the United States, and elsewhere, where they are sold to pimps, drugged, terrorized, locked in brothels, and raped repeatedly. In Eastern Europe, since the fall of communism, sex trafficking has become the fastest growing form of organized crime, with Moldova and Ukraine widely seen as the centers of the global trade in women and girls.

Documentary Contributors: Felix Golubev & Simcha Jacobovici / Producer: Ric Esther Bienstock

Friday, February 03, 2006

Ex-Human Rights Defender Denied Parliament Access

RFE/RL Armenia Report - 02/03/2006
By Anna Saghabalian

The leadership of Armenia's parliament refused on Friday to allow Larisa Alaverdian, the recently sacked human rights ombudsperson, to present a report detailing her activities last year to the National Assembly.

Under Armenian law, such a report has to be released by the defender on an annual basis. Alaverdian, who was relieved of her duties last month, insists that she has the exclusive right to draw up and publicize the document because she occupied the post in 2005. In an open letter to parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian, she asked for a permission to address the parliament.

Baghdasarian's office responded that only a serving ombudsperson can do that. Alaverdian's successor is expected to be elected by the parliament next week. Leaders of its pro-government majority have already decided to give the job to Armen Harutiunian, President Robert Kocharian's chief constitutional lawyer. Harutiunian would have five months to issue a report on his predecessor's activities.

Alaverdian, meanwhile, said on Friday that she will publish her own report anyway. She confirmed that it will strongly criticize the Armenian authorities' human rights record. `To put it mildly, I don't see an increase in the level of human rights protection in Armenia,' she told RFE/RL.


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 3, NOYAN TAPAN. 30 criminal cases on facts of trafficking were instituted in Armenian in 2005. As Marsel Matevosian, Deputy Head of the RA Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General's Office, informed at the February 3 conference that the number of such crimes is increasing year after year. Thus, there were 20 criminal cases examined by the investigation bodies in 2003, 35 in 2004, whereas there were 40 criminal cases in 2005 as a result of resumption of cases suspended and quashed before.

M.Matevosian mentioned, that according to the cases examined in 2005, the number of victims of trafficking, that underwent sexual exploitation made 182 persons. As a result of trafficking 36 of them suffered from sexual exploitation in Armenia, 136 in United Arab Emirates, 10 in Turkey. It was also mentioned that 172 of them were citizens of the Republic of Armenia, 3 of Russian Federation, 4 of Ukraine and 3 of Uzbekistan.

According to Artak Haroutiunian, Chief of the Chair of the Scientific-Research Center of the RA Prosecutor General's Office, different manifestations of trafficking are observed in different regions. Cases of prostitution or sexual exploitation are spread in the Muslim countries, and cases of men obligatory work are spread in the European countries. A.Haroutiunian mentioned that the peculiarities of the trafficking manifestation typical to the Eastern countries are typical to Armenia.

It was also mentioned that a 2006-2008 program of measures of struggle against trafficking at the level of the CIS countries was made up, within the framework of which an agreement will be signed in the future.


ARKA News Agency, Armenia
Feb 3 2006

YEREVAN, February 3. /ARKA/
. Presentation of a manual "How to struggle against trafficking in communities" took place in Yerevan.

According to the Coordinator of the Yerevan mission of the International Organization for Migration Hrachya Kazhoyan, the manual is for the population of the regions of Armenia, since residents of rural areas make the significant part of the victims of trafficking.

"We increased awareness among the population of the regions of Armenia by demonstrating a theatre performance "Burning candles", which describes the bitter fate of Armenian women, who became the victims of trafficking", he said.

According to him, already 10 thsd citizens of Yerevan, Gyumri, Charentsavan, Vanadsor, Yeghegnadsor and Goris saw the drama.

However, Kazhoyan found difficult to say the number of citizens of Armenia, who underwent trafficking.

Publication of the manual is funded by the British Council, UNDP, as well as the Agency of Development and Cooperation of Switzerland.

The mission of the International Organization for Migration in Armenian has been acting since 1993. The main goal of the mission is to contribute to the rehabilitation process of the victims of trafficking, as well as increasing awareness among the population of Armenia.

According to the data of the UN, annually 4 mln people become victims of trafficking. Illegal turnover of that criminal sphere makes over $10 bln. A.H.-0--


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 3, NOYAN TAPAN. This year the RA state foreign debt will amount to 1,215.9 mln USD against 1,161.1 mln USD last year. The 2006 program of the RA monetary and credit policy envisages to attract about 107.5 mln USD in 2006. The debt servicing payment will make 60.7 mln USD. According to the program, the net current value of the RA foreign debt will make 7,752 mln USD in the year under review. The concessional loans will make up 99% of the loans attracted.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Another Gang of Human Traffickers Sentenced
[January 30, 2006]

Armine (not her real name) from Hrazdan spent a year in Dubai as a sex slave in the control of the notorious pimp Anahit Malkhasyan, or Dbr Ano, who was wanted by Interpol. On October 3, 2005, Malkhasyan was killed in a car accident in Dubai under suspicious circumstances. The Office of the Prosecutor General of Armenia closed the criminal case against her.

Armine has two children. Her husband left for Russia four years ago and has never returned or supported his family in any way since then. Armine moved back in with her parents, who were also in a difficult financial situation. Armine looked for a job in Hrazdan for a long time. Most of the people living here are unemployed; the town was built in Soviet times around several factories, which are now shut down. Finally, Armine was offered a high-paying job in Dubai by Gayane Mirzoyan. “Gayane Mirzoyan lived in our building. She told me and my friend over a cup of coffee that there was a high-paying job and asked if we would be interested. We both, Ruzan and I, were in a difficult situation and got excited. We didn't think about anything bad. She said, ‘You'll work either as bakers or as nannies.' So we agreed,” Armine told us in Dubai in February 2005. We tried many time to get Armine's passport from her boss, Anahit Malkhasyan, but without success.

The story of how Gayane Mirzoyan became a pimp is typical of the bosses exploiting Armenian women in Dubai and Turkey. Almost all of them used to work as prostitutes and then became bosses. Gayane Mirzoyan left for Dubai in 2001 to make money through prostitution. She worked under the supervision of Anahit Malkhasyan. A few months later the Dubai police arrested Anahit and deported her to Armenia. Anahit Malkhasyan suggested that Gayane, who was back in Yerevan, to recruit women and send to Dubai. Gayane began looking for women in need in her native town of Hrazdan. The jobs she offered were as a rule “working as waiters in various establishments or as baby-sitters.”

That was how she found Ruzan and Armine. Ruzan was divorced with three children.

At Drbo Ano's insistence, Gayane handed the women's passports over to Avetis Kiziryan. On March 17, 2004 Avetis transported the two women to Vardanants Odjakh a half-built hotel on Yerevan's David Bek Street (This hotel has been mentioned in two separate criminal cases instituted for trafficking in humans. According to our information, it is owned by the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union, Khosrov Harutiunyan). The next day Avetis Kiziryan sent the women to Moscow. In Moscow, Vazrik Simonyan met them and saw them off to United Arab Emirates. The same year, Vazrik Simonyan was sentenced in Armenia for “assisting Armenian women organizing prostitution in the UAE.”

“We were met by Anahit at the Dubai airport. She took our passports on the spot saying that she should keep them and took us to an apartment where we saw other Armenian women. That's when we found out why we had been brought to Dubai. Anahit told us that she had spent $20,000 to bring us to Dubai and that we had either to pay her off or to engage in prostitution. I was beaten by an Arab man with a ponytail. His name was Ali; we Armenians called him Ponytail Ali. When you wound up in hands of Ali or his friends you were in trouble. They would do anything to you. And there was nothing you could do about it,” Armine recalled. It was under these conditions that Armine was subjected to sexual exploitation for a year in Dubai.

Some time after he sent Armine and Ruzan, Avetis Kiziryan also moved to Dubai. Known as Avo by the Armenian women in Dubai, he lived in Anahit Malkhasyan's apartment, as her lover and bodyguard. She never left the apartment without him.

In August 2005 Armine was arrested by the Dubai police and deported to Armenia.

On September 9, 2005 Avetis Kiziryan was charged with human trafficking, in accordance with Article 132 of the Criminal Code of Armenia. He was arrested upon his return to Armenia. Kiziryan had three previous convictions for various crimes. The last time he was sentenced in October 2004 in accordance with Article 38 (Complicity) and Article 268 (Maintaining dens of prostitution or pimping) of the Criminal Code but was released soon afterwards under uncertain circumstances.

Gayane Mirzoyan was also charged with violating Article 132 and a search for her was instituted. She was found and arrested on October 12, 2005.

On January 12, 2006 the Court of First Instance of the Kotayk Marz, Judge Nelli Galstyan presiding, sentenced Gayane Mirzoyan and Avetis Kiziryan to 4 years and 6 months imprisonment each.

Edik Baghdasaryan