A gang of 30 homophobes launched a brutal attack on queer activists. Two years later, police are finally investigating

Patrick Kelleher September 12, 2020
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Armenia gay LGBT assault

A photo of one of the victims of the homophobic attack in Armenia, which left two people hospitalised

A court in Armenia has ordered police to reinvestigate a 2018 case in which 30 homophobes brutally assaulted nine LGBT+ activists.

The country’s Criminal Court of Appeals has ruled that authorities failed to adequately investigate the horrific attack in Shantukh in Armenia’s southernmost Syunik province, which left two queer activists in hospital.

The ruling, which was made in August, found that the victims’ rights were violated when investigators chose to not prosecute the perpetrators in the attack.

Pink Armenia, an LGBT+ rights organisation, had previously appealed to the prosecutor and to the First Instance Court of Syunik to have the assailants prosecuted – but their concerns were rejected.

The Criminal Court of Appeal’s ruling vindicates queer activists in the country, who have spent the last two years fighting for the aggressors to be prosecuted.

In a statement, Pink Armenia said the court made its ruling after considering the “severe mental suffering” the victims experienced.

The court also found that the LGBT+ activists were targeted by the group of 30 because of their sexual orientation.

LGBT+ activists in Armenia have been vindicated in their fight for justice for queer people assaulted in the 2018 attack.

“We hope that this decision will finally force the investigation body to resume the preliminary investigation and to start examining the real motive of the crime,” the group said.

“We think it is clear to everyone that violating the dignity of a person, subjecting them to psychological or physical abuse for discriminatory reasons, should be severely condemned and punished.”

The activists were attacked in August 2018 after they met at the home of Hayk Hakobyan to discuss LGBT+ issues.

Hakobyan told PinkNews at the time that they were terrified when a group of 30 people, including women and children, turned up outside the house.

“They told us, ‘Faggots, get out of the village,” he said.

Once they left the house, the mob assaulted them, with men carrying out beatings while women and children threw stones.

The group of LGBT+ activists were followed for around a kilometre by the mob, who continued to beat them and threaten them.

It took police more than an hour to arrive on the scene.

The government went on to grant amnesty to a number of the attackers, while investigators decided not to prosecute the remaining 13 assailants.

More: Armenia, Hate crime, Homophobia, homophobia in the police, Pink Armenia

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