Armenian prosecutors launch criminal case against Vardenis psychiatric facility

October 5, 2012

Sona Truzyan, press spokesperson for the General Prosecutor's Office, informed Hetq Online that, as per the RA General Prosecutor's decision, criminal proceedings for human trafficking have been launched in the case of Vardenis Psychoneurologic Boarding House state non-profit organization (SNCO), based on a previous report by Hetq Online.
Earlier, the General Prosecutor's Office had stated that Vardenis Psychoneurologic Boarding House Director Nver Hovhannisyan had been arrested for exploiting 4 patients in his care. As reported previously, the patients were working in the nearby village of Nerkin Shorzha herding livestock belonging to the psychiatric hospital but also to Hovhannisyan himself. In particular, the director of the psychiatric hospital (which is under the RA Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs' jurisdiction), abusing his official position and in the name of "work therapy," from May 16, 2012, to Sept. 18, 2012, exploited 4 individuals under the psychoneurological boarding house's care, suffering from serious illness, and only partly aware of the nature and significance of their act as a result of mental illness. In particular, for months, the director involved the patients in the work of grazing, milking, cleaning the shed and other forced work for about 70 large and about 130 small animals in the village of Nerkin Shorzha about 30 km from the psychiatric hospital.
"The criminal proceedings [launched Oct. 3, 2012] have been sent to the RA Police to carry out an investigation," reads a statement issued by the General Prosecutor's Office on Oct. 4.
Recall, another criminal case has been launched under RA Criminal Code Article 179 Section 2 Paragraphs 1 and 3 ("squandering or embezzlement"). The Fight Against Crime Unit as well as the Vardenis Division of the RA Police also discovered on Oct. 3 that from April to September of this year, Hovhannisyan embezzled 3,100 liters of the organization's gasoline, causing 1,302,000 AMD (about $3,188 USD) of damages to the psychiatric hospital.
Source: Saro Baghdasaryan, "Criminal Case Launched Against Vardenis Psych Hospital Director for Exploiting Patients," HetQ, October 4, 2012.


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