Monday, July 04, 2005

Hetq Trafficking Update

Forgot to say that last week I signed a new contract with Hetq Online, an online publication available in English and Armenian. I'm working on a part-time contract basis to continue with the Photostory section that I introduced at the beginning of 2004. Anyway, it's additional work on top of contracts still in play with a few international organizations operating in the republic.

But, back to Hetq. In another interesting batch of articles today, Edik Baghdasarian continues with his investigation into the trafficking of women and children from Armenia. This time, however, rather than report on the inactivity and actual involvement of officials in the United Arab Emirates in the trade, Edik deals with the alleged collusion of local officials here in Armenia.

On May 25th, The Court of First Instance of the Kotayk Province, Judge Gagik Heboyan presiding, issued a decision that is a classic example of the support pimps receive in the Armenian legal system. These pimps have been selling Armenian women into sexual slavery in Dubai for years. But they are given a slap on the wrist by the courts, and released as soon as possible so they can get back to work.

This time, the court had received a request from the administration of the Abovyan prison to release notorious pimp Marietta Musayelyan before the end of her sentence. Why the prison sought an early release is anybody’s guess.


How did Judge Gagik Heboyan come to take such a favorable view of Marietta Musayelyan? That something that only he and the prison administration can answer. Who gave the order to send the case to court so quickly, and to release the pimp before she had served even half her time? The prosecutors alone could find that out, but only if they wanted to. They had fifteen days to appeal the court’s decision, but they did nothing.

According to Edik Baghdasarian, Musayelyan was wanted by Interpol while in Dubai and her surprising return to, and arrest in, Armenia was simply a ruse to get rid of the international arrest warrant. To be honest, nothing would surprise me in Armenia. Anyway, plenty of material on the phenomenon of trafficking of women and children from Armenia in the archive section of the Hetq Online web site.

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