• 21/12/2013

bardakjian1The board of the Evangelical Church of Yerevan expresses its deep concern regarding the events occurring against the church during these days, especially by the governmental bodies and the police as through their indifference they are failing to investigate and punish the guilty.
A criminal case has been excited only for two out of the three incidents, which took place in a week. Moreover, a criminal case hasn’t been excited for the case where the criminal was identified by us and was taken to the police.

1. An attempted murder on September 11, 2013 – an attack on the pastor of the church with a knife
On September 11, a young man entered the pastor’s office of the Evangelical Church of Yerevan threatening to kill the pastor with a knife.

A. The shortcomings of the police officers
The young man has been transferred to the Avan mental hospital; his behavior has been evaluated as an act taken in an unbalanced situation. Without informing the police, the clinic has released him. 34 days later, the same young man entered the cafe adjacent to the church and wanted to see the pastor. According to the police officers and the investigator, “they were not aware that the young man was released from the hospital and was set free.”
55 days later the investigators of Arabkir police department had not excited a criminal case regarding this case.

B. A criminal case has not been excited
– On the 8th of November, 60 days later, the investigator has made a decision on “refusing to instigate a criminal case based on materials”.
– On the 20th of November the investigator’s decision has been appealed to the Arabkir and Qanaqer-Zeytun administrative district court.
– Today, 3 months after the incident, the police and the regional court have not yet made a decision to clarify the actions of the investigators.

2. An attack and kidnapping attempt of the church pastor’s secretary, Judy Mousa, on the 13th of September

A. The shortcomings of the police officers
Next to Judy Mousa’s house the assaulters presented themselves as police officers and asked her a couple of times “Are you the employee of Levon Bardakjian?” /L. Bardakjian is the senior pastor of the Evangelical Church of Yerevan/. The girl resisted and the attackers weren’t able to kidnap her.
As Judy Mousa was a witness of the murder attempt of September 11th, she had given her witness declaration to the Arabkir Police department along with her home address. This was the first time she gave her home address to anyone.
– The criminal case was excited only 50 days later – on the 18th of October.
– The first interrogation was scheduled 65 days later – on the 31st of October.
– Today, after 3 months, the crime and the people behind it have not been found.

B. Wrong decision
– Only J. Mousa has been acknowledged as a victim, whereas the target of the attack was the pastor.
On the 5th of November a petition was filed to the Qanaqer-Zeytun police department to recognize the pastor as a victim of the incident as the reputation of the pastor and the safety of the congregation members had been violated.

3. A shooting on the church’s car parked on the Sevan-Ijevan freeway against the pastor’s assistant

The incident, a shooting, occurred on the 18th of September in the Sevan area when relocating the advertising sign of the camp. Because of the shooting the window of the Chevrolet Centurion car was smashed and bullet marks were found on the door of the car. The driver was in the car while the shooting occurred.

A. The shortcomings of the police officers
On the 13th of November, 48 days later, the following decisions have been sent:
– to excite a criminal case (on the 14th of October)
– to acknowledge the victim’s representative (on the 21st of October).

B. Wrong decision
– A decision has been taken to acknowledge the church’s pastor as a representative of the victim.
– The investigator has refused to accept the driver as a victim during the shooting scene, justifying that “as a result of the incident the driver hasn’t been hurt physically or in any other way.”
– On the 11th of November the investigator’s decision has been appealed to the regional court of Gegharqunik.


4. The “Sevan National Park” SNCO:
a. Changes the payment amount agreed in the rental contract signed between our American charitable (religious) organization “Christian Cultural Ministries International” and the Ministry of Nature Protection of the RA in 2005 for 25 years regarding our coastal land by lake Sevan. They have recalculated the fee and are forcing us to pay the difference for the last 8 years. They have raised the fee by more than 100 percent.
b. The 3rd point of the rental agreement (subpoints 11th and 12th) have been violated, according to which both sides are obligated to keep the payment unchanged until the end of the agreement or change it upon mutual agreement.
The payment can only be changed considering the changes of the water level of Lake Sevan based upon which a recalculation would be necessary.
At the same time, regarding the fact that our land has decreased in size, we approached the head of “Sevan National Park” SNCO asking him to present us the real measurements of our land and to do a recalculation due to the higher water level of lake Sevan. We have not yet received a response.
c. As a result of the wrong decision made by the RA Ministry of Nature Protection and “Sevan National Park” SNCO, today we require a compensation for the payments made by our church’s charitable organization.
d. The governmental bodies are displaying a biased and discriminative approach for their own benefit between our organization and another religious organization – the Armenian Apostolic Church by giving free lands without charging rent fees.

5. RA Ministry of Transportation and Communication
Regarding the placement of an information billboard about the church camp on the Sevan freeway:
a. A decision was made by the Ministry of Transportation and Communication on the 15th of August, 2013 to penalize our charitable organization by 100,000 AMD for placing an information billboard on the Sevan freeway without properly notifying the organization.
b. We first met the deputy head of the transportation department Mr. A. Karapetyan on the 27th of August, 2013 who acknowledging that a wrong decision had been made, put aside the decision and informed us about the procedures of getting a license. Based on the latter, we filed a petition addressed to the minister according to the RA law.
c. The same day, we asked A. Karapetyan to present us the licenses and similar decisions related to the other 16 similar information boards located near our information board by a radius of 1 km or else we view this as discrimination against our religious organization.
d. Three months have passed since the date we sent our petition and we have not yet received any response from the relevant department of the ministry.

The board of the Evangelical Church of Yerevan condemns the performance of the police and urges to take the required steps to reveal the criminals rather than covering up these incidents of harassment. It is of utmost importance to excite a criminal case regarding the murder attempt.
We are sure that all these incidents are interrelated and that the police should view them as parts of the same scenario when investigating. Only after such an approach will it be possible to find those standing behind these scenes.
We urge that the governmental bodies stop discriminating against our organization especially against our pastor.
Living in the Syrian Republic for 24 years, in the USA for 14 years and 23 years in Armenia, our wish is to feel as genuine Armenians and to live with equal rights according to the RA legislation, regardless of our religious affiliation.
Therefore, we approach you anticipating your support (within your eligibility/jurisdiction) to provide our security and our rights according to the RA law.
The council of the Evangelical Church of Yerevan
President of the council,
Rev. Dr. Levon Bardakjian