Yerevan/Mediamax/. Members of Civilitas Foundation Honorary Board Serzh Tankian and Atom Egoyan made statements on Vardan Oskanian's case.
"The persecution of Vartan Oskanian, former foreign minister of Armenia, is clearly politically motivated. The funds from Jon Huntsman Sr were donated to Civilitas via Oskanian in early 2011. Yet the proceedings against Mr. Oskanian were brought on only after he re-entered politics in Armenia this year. Civilitas, the non-profit organization started by Mr. Oskanian, has done amazing work in Armenia, as well as diplomatically abroad, for Armenia. It is extremely important for a developing democracy to shun the monopolization of media, industries, and political offices. It is also very important for Armenian citizens to be able to express their choices and grievances by voting in free and fair elections, monitored by reputable international polling organizations. For centuries we have been controlled by one foreign entity or another. Although we have allegiances, allies, and the need for aid as a nation, our democracy and economy should not be victimized by influences from the West (U.S. mainly), nor Russia.
We must collectively rise out of this short sighted Soviet-era need to control industries and politics to allow our countrymen the freedom of expression earned over centuries of struggle", Serzh Tankian's message reads.
"I have known Vartan Oskanian for many years, and believe that he is a brilliant statesman, committed to Armenia’s prosperity and well-being. He is a truly international presence, capable of creating important bonds and bringing cherished ideas of democratic reform and free media to a country that is still recovering from over seventy years of Soviet-era control.
With this in mind, I immediately accepted Mr. Oskanian’s invitation to lend my name to the formation of Civilitas. I have watched as this vital organization has helped shape the course of open discussion and debate within a country I cherish and so proud of. This is why I am so shocked and upset by the current charges that have been brought against Mr. Oskanian. The persecution of Vartan Oskanian is a deplorable and politically motivated action which is extremely dangerous to the health of the country. I urge the Prosecutor General of Armenia to seriously consider the consequences of removing Vartan Oskanian’s immunity and to charge him with this trumped-up charge. This action is being watched with great concern by anyone who is concerned with freedom of expression in a truly democratic and modern country", Atom Egoyan's message reads.