Religious Persecution in Armenia

I just got this note in my mailbox from the Interreligious
mailing list. It describes all the different groups under
attack. This is an excerpt of a mail sent by Don R. Calkins.

As before, I ask any one in America concerned with these attacks to
write to the following addresses [I will provide petition addresses
for other countries as I get them]

GEORGIA06@HR.HOUSE.GOV			Newt Gingrich (Speaker of the House)
DEMLDR@HR.HOUSE.GOV			House Democratic leader
tom_daschle@daschle.senate.gov		Senate Democratic leader

You may also address

Mr. Levon Ter-Pertosian
President of Armenia 
Fax: +7 (8852) 521581.

His Exellency Rouben Shugarian
Armenian embassy 
1160 L St. N.W., Suite 210
Washington, D.C. 20036
Phone: (202) 393-5983


I have just recieved a report written by an english gentleman, Patrick
Hendersson,  working for something called the ECHO feeding programme in
Armenia. In his report he describes how during the 18th and 23rd of April
the following attacks on non-traditional religious groups took place:

This is just a brief summary, I will post the full report as soon as I have
time to type it.

April 19th: The leader of the Pentecostal church in Yerevan, Romik
Manoukian, was taken away during a church-meeting by five unknown men. One
of them carried a gun. He was told that he was arrested because of ignoring
draft papers. The men said they would release him later. (He had never
recieved any draft papers)

Several days later he was still in custody together with other Pentacostal
christians. On the 21st of April they hadn't got any food or drink since
their capture.

On Easter Sunday at an open air service, a helicopter flew over the location
and was followed by a civilian car arriving carrying soldiers with rifles
which they fired in the air demanding cessation of the meeting. When this
continued they approached the Bishop and threatened him with a rifle. Women
surrounded the bihop and were struck with rifle butts by the soldiers.

April 21st: At 07.50 AM, Artur Simonian, pastor of the Charismatic church
and Edward Petrossian, administrator, were arrested separately in their
homes and taken to a regional centre of Erkrapah for questioning by men in
civilian clothes. They also took religious literature from their homes. They
were released at 9.30/10.00 AM.

At 21 PM, there was a knock on the door of the offices of the Charismatic
church. The night gurad opened and 15 people stormed in. He was punched,
kicked and knocked unconcious and came round to find someone removing his
military papers, identity documents and money from his pockes.

The office had been systematically wrecked. This involved smashing of
computers, printers, breaking of phones, smashing of furniture, emptying out
of charity food from bags and generally destroying the office.

All records of members of the Charismatic church had been removed. This
damage has been video recorded.

The Sunday service of the Baptist church was broken up and all young men
plus the pastor were taken away. The pastor was later released but his newly
donated Volkswagen and the youg men are to the knowledge of Mr. Hendersson
still held.

The 7 day adventist church in Aragats had a firebomb thrown in through a
window. That is the fourth time the church was attacked this year.

I have other sources of information that verify this and also add other
attacks as well. The Bahai groups was also attaced.

I have also just got a copy of a newspaper article about the attack of the
Hare Krishna temple. In the article there are two pictures enclosed. One
showes a totally demolished room (the temple room) another picture shows a
devotee covered with blood from his head.

We are expecting more reports from reliable sources that are independent
that confirm all this.