Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Corrupt Former Judge Voices Support For LTP

It seems that Levon Ter-Petrosian has attracted the support of former judge Pargev Ohanian. If you recall from my interview with Onnik, there is mention of corrupt practices by judge Ohaian which reads:

OK: Is this the problem, then? Is the law not functioning correctly or are sentences for trafficking simply too light?

AM: The law contains provisions to hand down heavy sentences to traffickers but the legal system is not functioning correctly. I was present at the trial of five traffickers in Armenia last August and as far as I am concerned, Judge Ohanian and the prosecutor failed to do their jobs properly. These individuals should have received sentences of at least ten years but when Gulnara Shahinian, an expert on trafficking, presented the judge with details of Armenia’s international obligations to prosecute those guilty of trafficking, he instead insisted on prosecuting them with old Soviet laws that carried lighter sentences of only two years.

Though I don't think LTP has a chance to win, if he does for some reason come back into power, you can be sure that the "justice" we will see is not the kind of justice we are in need of. If Ohanian is a reflection of the type of people LPT will surround himself with to fix our problems, then we can't expect too much change if LPT wins, nor will we see our problems go away.

Fired Judge Voices Support For Ter-Petrosian

RFE/RL Armenia Report - 12/25/2007
By Astghik Bedevian

A recently dismissed judge who was behind one of the most sensational acquittals in Armenia's history expressed support on Tuesday for Levon Ter-Petrosian and said he is ready to campaign for the former president's victory in the forthcoming presidential election.

Pargev Ohanian, who was controversially fired by President Robert Kocharian two months ago, said he believes Ter-Petrosian's return to power represents an opportunity to combat widespread `injustice' reigning in the country. `I sympathize with Levon Ter-Petrosian and forces supporting him,' he told RFE/RL in an interview.

Ohanian was relieved of his duties as district court judge in Yerevan on October 16 upon the recommendation of the Council of Justice, a presidentially appointed body overseeing Armenia's judicial system. The council recommended his ouster as a result of disciplinary action takenagainst him by the Judicial Department, another government-controlled body monitoring the work of Armenian courts. The department found serious violations of Armenian law in his handling of two dozen criminal
and civil cases.

The punitive action has been widely linked with Ohanian's July 16 decision to acquit and free the owner and a top executive of the Royal Armenia coffee packaging company who had been arrested on controversial fraud charges two years ago. The arrests came after they publicly alleged high-level corruption in the Armenian customs. Ohanian's ruling, which reportedly angered Kocharian, was a rare example of an Armenian
court defying the government and prosecutors.

Armenia's Court of Appeals overturned the acquittals on November 29, sentencing the Royal Armenia owner, Gagik Hakobian, and the company's deputy director, Aram Ghazarian, to six and two years in prison respectively. Both men insisted on their innocence and appealed to the higher Court of Cassation.

Ohanian would not say just how he can contribute to the Ter-Petrosian campaign. `Frankly speaking, I don't consider myself a politician,' he said. `I'm more of a fighter for justice.'

Ohanian denied that he decided to back the opposition presidential candidate because of having lost his job. `There has always been injustice and I have always felt sorry for it,' he said. `I think that my mission is to fight against injustice. At the risk of sounding indiscreet, I continue to consider myself a judge who constantly fights
against injustice.'

Ohanian's own track record was far from perfect in that regard, though. He was among those Armenian judges who sentenced in 2003 and 2004 hundreds of participants of opposition demonstrations to up to 15 days in prison. Local and international human rights groups strongly condemned the so-called administrative detentions, forcing the Armenian authorities to scrap the Soviet-era practice.

Ter-Petrosian, meanwhile, appealed to his loyalists on Tuesday not to bow to what he described as `psychological pressure, intimidation and threats' by the police. In a written statement, he said scores of them have been illegally summoned to police stations across the country and told to stop campaigning for him over the past two months.

Ter-Petrosian said they should show up for interrogation only if they receive written summonses from law-enforcement bodies. `In case of receiving summonses, photocopy them and send their copies to offices of our Movement,' he said. `If you like, you can consider this my first and, as yet, unofficial decree.'

Monday, December 24, 2007

Family accuses insurance company of causing teen's death

NBC News Transcripts
December 22, 2007 Saturday
SHOW: Saturday Today 7:00 AM EST NBC



AMY ROBACH, co-host:

And now to a family mourning the loss of their teenage daughter and accusing her insurance company of causing her death. NBC's Peter Alexander has more.


Just hours after Nataline Sarkisyan's death, her family spoke out, heartbroken and angry.

Mr. KRIKOR SARKISYAN (Nataline's Father): These Cigna people, they cannot make people's decision if they going to live or die.

ALEXANDER: For three weeks, 17-year-old Nataline, a leukemia patient, was hospitalized and in a coma. Her health insurance company, Cigna, refused to pay for the liver transplant she desperately needed, claiming it wasn't covered and experimental. On Thursday, dozens of protesters, including nurses and friends, rallied outside the company's offices, convincing Cigna to reverse course. Nataline's mom broke the news.

Nataline's Mother: Cigna just approved us.

ALEXANDER: But by then it was too late. Nataline died that night.

Mr. MARK GERAGOS (Family Attorney): Cigna Health Corporation Enhanced Coverage LinkingCigna Health Corporation -Search using: News, Most Recent 60 Days
Company Profile literally, maliciously, killed her.

ALEXANDER: Geragos called Cigna's actions callous and criminal, claiming the company took Nataline off its transplant list twice. He's now pushing prosecutors to consider manslaughter or murder charges.

Krikor Sarkisyan says his only daughter was his angel. After her death, the Armenian immigrant says he, his wife and their son slept in a single bed and wept.

Mr. SARKISYAN: I have a pain. I don't know when it's going to go away. It's never going to go away. They took my daughter.

ALEXANDER: Just before Thanksgiving, Nataline's brother donated bone marrow to help his sister.

Mr. BEDIG SARKISYAN (Nataline's Brother): I never lost hope for her. I swear to God I thought she was going to come home.

ALEXANDER: In a short statement, Cigna offered its deepest sympathies to Nataline's family.


"Our deepest sympathies are with Nataline's family. Their loss is immeasurable, and our thoughts and prayers are with them. We deeply hope that the outpouring of concern, care and love that are being expressed for Nataline's family help them at this time."

ALEXANDER: On her Web site, a friend wrote, "Rest in peace, sweetheart. If you only knew how many people fought for you." For TODAY, Peter Alexander, NBC News, Enhanced Coverage LinkingNBC News, -Search using: News, Most Recent 60 Days
Company Profile Los Angeles.

ROBACH: And now once again, here's Lester.

LESTER HOLT, co-host:

Thanks, Amy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Start of a new life

The birth of our son Alex can be described as nothing less than the most amazing things I've ever been a part of.

After seeing what I saw, I can say that anyone who gives birth is very brave. I don't know what other women experience, but know in the last 2 hours, my wife was in major pain. Before we got to the hospital, I told my wife that if she said anything bad about me or snapped at me when she is birthing our child, I would fully understand. I also knew that there was a very good chance at her lashing out, since she had decided she would not allow any pain killers and wanted our son to be born as nature intended. Only at one point did my wife talk when really hurting and she said that it really hurts and I don't blame you for my pain. I was like wow.

Anyway, from what I've been told, to pass a 3.7 kilo baby on the third push is very good. We were warned before she started pushing that it could take a while and without pain killers given before we start birthing, could be very hard for my wife.

On the third push and when Alex just about jumped into the hands of our doctor, I could see that my wife almost instantly felt relief.

The clean-up process was quite quick and within the first 10 minutes, he had his eyes open and he was taking things in. Though they say that babies can't see when they are first born, Alex looked to be making eye contact with me and my wife.

We have a long road to go before things level out and though I was ready for sleepless nights, Alex seems to be a very mellow baby and for someone who is almost 2 days old, he does not seem to mind sleeping 7 hours at night and for the most part feeds every 3 to 4 hours during the day. The first newborn I raised fed every 2 to 3 hours and also was kind to me, letting me sleep at night.

For the next month, I'm going to be taking a break from logging since I'm going to need a little bit more time for my family. If there is any downtime, I may post a relevant news story that is of interest to me.

Monday, December 10, 2007

It's a Boy

On December 10, 2007 at 2:17 a.m. our first son Alex Manoogian made his grand entrance into the world. He came in at 3.7 kilos and 49 centimeters long. Alex's mother was a real trooper and without any pain killers birthed him natural. And though we were lead to believe that it was going to take 24 hours, from the time we got to the hospital and finished the birth, 9 hours had passed. Anyway, I just came home to get a few things and take a shower. I have to head back to the hospital. It may be some time until my next blog so keep checking in.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Why are they not in jail?

The following story is very interesting, as it clearly states that the RA President Robert Kocharyan knows good and well of what LTP’s government did when in power was criminal and punishable by law.

So the question is to President Kocharyan is, if you are such a great leader of our nation and defender of our people, why have you not gone after half of the people from the LTP government, put them behind bars and reclaimed what they have stolen?

I can tell you this much without sounding like I trying to cook up some conspiracy. What LTP did that should have landed him and half his government in jail, Robert Kocharyan and 99% of his government has been doing since they took power almost 10 years ago.

If you ask me, Levon and Robert both belong in jail, side by side. The reason why we have not seen this, nor will we see this when Serzh gets elected is that they are all the same people and if one gets tossed in jail for things they all do, those that go to jail will drag the rest down with them.


December 6, 2007

Yerevan /Mediamax/
. Armenian President Robert Kocharian stated that he knowingly did not give political assessment to the activity of the ex-ruling party Armenian National Movement (ANM) and to the former authorities.

Mediamax reports that the Armenian President said this, answering the questions of the readers of "Golos Armenii" newspaper.

"I really avoided giving such assessments, but I made my stance clear: I did not want to continue the Soviet tradition, when each new leader started from the criticism of the former leader. I believed that it was necessary to demonstrate the result, and the people, seeing the difference itself, would give an assessment. There was no persecution for the ANM figures. Otherwise, half of them would be in prison till now for large thefts. Vano Siradeghian [Ex-Minister of Internal Affairs] is in investigation for organization of murders. I avoided this topic for 9 years, until Levon Ter-Petrosian himself and the ANM provoked these discussions", Robert Kocharian stated. (Ara's note: A former RA Prosecutor General’s Office employee, who worked for the United Nations a couple of years before being forced out of the UN, told me in 2005 that they know where Vano lives in Dubai, “but we have no need to arrest him…” )

"Today I say it openly, that the ANM abused the confidence of the people. ANM collapsed the country's economy, turning Armenia into one of the poorest countries of the world. ANM came to power on the wave of the Karabakh movement and betrayed it. ANM is devoid of national ideology, it is ready to forget about the Genocide and make Armenia an adjunct of Turkey. By the way, I am not saying anything new. All this has been stated for hundreds of times, I just avoided these assessments. Of course, this does not concern everyone - sometimes professionals, who tried to do something to improve the matters, were appointed to various positions", Armenian President stated.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Noyan Tapan
Dec 7, 2007

The gas supply of Armenia will be discontinued on December 8-11 with the aim of carrying out scheduled repair and restoration work on the North Caucasus - Transcaucasia gas main-pipeline. NT was informed by the PR service of ArmRusgazprom company that no-break gas supply of the country's consumers will be ensured at the expense of gas stored in the Abovian underground gas depot.


07-12-2007 12:22:37

Recently various opinions have been voiced on the Karabakh settlement. In Karabakh they think a crucial stage in settlement has started. The Azerbaijani side thinks probability of war is 100 percent. It is also said that only one of ten issues of settlement on the table of the talks has not been agreed on. The Armenian side says the last issue is the status of Karabakh. Baku says the status of Karabakh was not discussed at all.

The representative of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun Artsakh Central Committee Davit Ishkhanyan thinks no breakthrough is expected in the upcoming year because in 2008presidential elections will be held in the OSCE Minsk Group countries, the U.S. and Russia, and "they will focus on their internal problems."

Davit Ishkhanyan told the statements of the Azerbaijani officials on the resumption of the war and no discussion of the status of Karabakh is part of the Azerbaijani diplomacy which uses the opportunity for political pressure. He thinks those statements are not true. The political activity of Turkey makes him think so, as well as the recent meeting of the foreign ministers of Armenia and Russia who said war is unacceptable.

The representative of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun Artsakh Central Committee thinks the Armenian side should insist on the participation of Karabakh in the talks as a full-right member. As to the stance of Azerbaijan on the status of Karabakh, Davit Ishkhanyan thinks it should not be a guideline for the Armenian side because Nagorno-Karabakh has existed de facto for a long time now, and it needs only a de jure recognition.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Dubai police make biggest prostitution bust

Wed Dec 5, 2007 2:05am EST

DUBAI (Reuters) - Dubai police have arrested 170 suspected prostitutes from East Asia in the biggest crackdown on sex networks in the Gulf Arab emirate, newspapers reported on Wednesday.

The police also arrested 12 suspected pimps and 65 people seeking to buy sexual services, when they stormed 22 covert brothels in a synchronized raid on Saturday, Gulf News reported police chief Dahi Khalfan bin Tamim as saying.

"Dubai Police have many crackdowns on prostitution which are not announced in the media. However, it is important in the light of the activities being carried out by these networks to show there are crackdowns," it quoted bin Tamim as saying.

Bin Tamim said the move came after the United Arab Emirates -- a seven-member federation including oil exporter Abu Dhabi and Dubai, a regional tourism and trade hub -- passed a law to combat human trafficking.

"We started following up these networks and cases have been referred to the public prosecution, but this is the biggest case," he said, urging women "duped into working for such networks" to contact the police.

The UAE enacted a law in November making human trafficking punishable by life imprisonment, and has set up a state body to combat trafficking.

Foreign workers and expatriates make up over 80 percent of the 4 million population of the UAE.

The United States has criticized four Gulf Arab allies, including the UAE, as some of the world's worst offenders in permitting human trafficking.

Dubai authorities smash vice ring

Police in Dubai say they have smashed a major vice ring, arresting 247 people in raids on 22 alleged brothels.

A total of 170 prostitutes and 12 pimps, mostly from China, were arrested along with 65 clients of various nationalities, local press said.

The police chief said such raids were a frequent occurrence but were not usually announced to the media.

In March, UAE police announced they had deported about 4,300 prostitutes from Dubai during 2006.

"It is important in the light of the activities being carried out by these networks to show there are crackdowns and there are efforts by police," said Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim in quotes reported by Emirates Today.

He added that the move came after the United Arab Emirates passed a law to combat human trafficking.

"We cannot tolerate this kind of behaviour that is against human moral ethics and our religious beliefs," he said.
Dubai is considered to be the most liberal of the seven-emirate group, with a booming sex industry.

Anti-trafficking campaigners say Dubai authorities often turn a blind eye to prostitution for economic reasons.

Foreign workers and expatriates make up over 80% of the 4 million inhabitants of the UAE, and men outnumber women by about three-to-one.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/12/05 14:02:35 GMT

Dubai Police Crack Prostitution Ring

December 6, 2007


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP)
— Dubai police have announced a crackdown on a large prostitution ring, which human rights activists welcomed on Wednesday as a long-awaited move against the human trafficking rampant in this wealthy Gulf city.

Police said that they had conducted a series of simultaneous raids Saturday on suspected brothels, landing 247 suspects in jail in the emirate's biggest anti-prostitution sweep to date.

"The police have been working on this one for a long time," Police Chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim told The Associated Press, describing a year of surveillance on 22 villas licensed as massage parlors in several neighborhoods across this bustling regional business hub.

In a press conference Tuesday, Tamim said that the Dubai government has "declared war on human trafficking."

"It's about time we can say the word 'trafficking' out loud," said Sharla Musabih, a human-rights activist who runs a local shelter for abused and trafficked women. "There's still a lot to be learned, but after seven years of trying to convince the police that these (women) are victims of trafficking, my heart sang when I heard the police chief say that," she said.

Musabih added she has dealt with 400 victims of trafficking over the last six months.

The raids picked up 170 suspected prostitutes, 12 men believed to be their pimps and 65 alleged customers, all of whom have since been referred to the prosecutor-general to be charged, Tamim said.

Prostitution is illegal in the Emirates, a federation of seven semiautonomous states, but widespread in Dubai and particularly obvious in certain luxury hotels.

"Human trafficking is a big problem here and all over the world," said Khalid Ahmed Omer, a legal adviser to Dubai police, explaining that "foreign gangs" run prostitution rings in Dubai and "bring girls with them from their countries."

In its annual "Trafficking in Persons Report," the State Department listed the Emirates as one of the places most plagued by "involuntary servitude and commercial sexual exploitation."

"There are women who are brought here by force and we try to do everything to protect them," Omer said.

Women who are found to have been forced into prostitution will most likely be deported to their countries of origin, Omer said, adding that those who brought them will be held accountable.

Human trafficking is punishable with life imprisonment or, if the victim is less than 15 years of age, the death penalty.

"Trafficking is not just about prostitution," Musabih. She said that recruiters often promise women from poor countries a better life in the Gulf.

"They sell everything to pay their way here and to work, only to be dumped in a strange city where they face abuse and have nowhere to go," Musabih said.

Women who are forced into sex work were usually promised work as domestics, she said.

The Emirates and other Gulf countries have been repeatedly criticized by Human Rights Organizations for not doing enough to stop global human traffickers, who move 800,000 people across international borders each year.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The time is nearing

These last 10 days have been very challenging for my wife. We are in the home stretch of her pregnancy and she is now to the point that she can’t move too well.

According to the due date we were given, we are less than a week away from parenthood.

Though I would love to share with you all the daily happenings of life with a baby, I already know from my energy level now and what little time I now have to write (which is not much to speak of), my postings on MOB will be an occasional blurb and relevant new stories that I hope will interest you.

What is really bad is that the last 3 months of my wife's pregnancy has wiped me out. We have not slept much in 3 months as the baby keeps kicking all night and of course it would not be fair for me to have her suffer alone, so when the baby kicks her and she wakes, she kicks me and I wake. I guess that's a fair deal.

This will be the second time I care for a newborn. For those of you who have gone down this road, it really does wipe you out. The first time I was well rested and after a little over 2 months, I was wiped out and ready to sleep for a couple of weeks. At that time I was given a break, since my cousin adopted the baby I was caring for. What is bad this time around is that I'm going into this wiped out, so who knows where things will stand in a couple of months and if our baby will be the angel the first one was, who did sleep 7 hours a night starting the 2nd week? And as far as I know, thing can get harder after the 2nd month of life. In fact I hear from some people that it can get harder for 18+ years. I sure hope this baby goes easy on my wife and I.

Anyway, the next posting you will be reading I believe will be the birth announcement of our first born and I hope for the sake of my wife that will be soon.


04-12-2007 12:08:44

The airport of Stepanakert will be reoperated by autumn 2008, President Bako Sahakyan said in yesterday's news conference. "Most people we met confessed they do not visit Karabakh often because no planes fly there."

He said he has invited specialists from the Department of Civil Aviation of Armenia and they have already made a conclusion.

The president said as of today the airport of Stepanakert can receive only helicopters. He said soon the available equipment will be installed. The rest of equipment will be brought from Gyumri where the airport has been modernized recently for international flights. New equipment costs millions of dollars, therefore old equipment will be installed in the airport Stepanakert of Stepanakert.

There will be no international flights for the time being because the permission of Azerbaijan is required for that. "For the time being, we will launch Stepanakert-Yerevan and Yerevan-Stepanakert flights. Air travel will help revive not only tourism but also life in the country," the president said.