One Year after Levon Gulyan’s Death: No Answers are Found

Press release

One year ago, on May 12, 2007, Levon Gulyan died while he was in the Police Headquarters in Yerevan, where he was invited to testify as a witness of a murder case. Mr. Gulyan witnessed a fight between several male individuals on May 9, which broke into shooting with an individual being shot and killed in the street near the restaurant managed by Mr. Gulyan.

That same evening Mr. Gulyan along with two other employees of the restaurant was taken by the Shengavit district Police Department into custody as a witness to the murder. Levon wrote a statement on what he had witnessed, however was kept at the police station until late evening on May 10. He was then twice allowed to go home but was told to return back to the police station, which he did in both cases.

According to Gulyan’s family members and two other employees of the restaurant, all three witnesses were subjected either to psychological or physical violence during the investigative procedures. On May 12, Mr. Gulyan was taken to the Police Headquarters of RA, although the investigative group of Shengavit district Police Department assured that all investigative procedures with Levon Gulyan were finished. Around 17:00 on May 12, Mr. Gulyan’s family was informed that he had died. After announcing the death of Mr. Gulyan, police officers stated Mr. Gulyan had either died while trying to escape from the room he was being kept in, by jumping from the third floor window, or that he had decided to commit suicide.

During the year, this issue has been drawing a public debate; number of press conferences, protest actions were held with demand to find out the truth. A person entered the Police building and never came out – no matter what was the reason, the authorities have to be responsible for that.

On March 12, 2008 the criminal case that was initiated following a violent death was ceased "for lack of components of crime". Lawyers of Levon Gulyan’s family appealed against this decision of the Special Investigative Service. After the Prosecutor’s Office declined the appeal, the lawyers lodged a complaint in the court. Starting from April 2008, three court sessions were held, however no court decision has been issued. We are convinces that during the investigation no answers were given to the key questions and no explanation was presented concerning the circumstances of Levon Gulyan’s death.

On 21 May 2007, FIDH and CSI in their joint statement appealed to the Armenian authorities with demand to conduct a full, independent and impartial investigation, to take measures to fully conform with the provisions of the European Convention on the Prevention of Torture and the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and to increase public control and access to the police stations. Apparently, one year after Levon Gulyan’s not much was done to address these issues.

Today we again call upon the Armenian authorities to revive the case and to conduct a transparent and fair investigation on the case of Levon Gulyan, in order to achieve truth and justice, and to punish those responsible for his death.

Read more