Armenia: Metsamor police officers in 2023. on December 18, they approached Rashid Avdoyan, who was smoking in the central park of Armavir, and warned him not to smoke. The citizen apologized, stating that there was no warning sign about the prohibition of smoking, and he did not know about the ban. The police said that this time, they are only giving a warning; next time, they will be fined. While leaving, the police asked the citizen’s name and phone number. A few days later, the citizen received the decision to be fined 50,000 drams.
The decision to bring him to administrative responsibility was a surprise for Rashid. Always smoked in that area. During the visit of the police, other citizens also smoked in the area, because they never came across any prohibition notices. According to the citizen, the police clarified that there are cameras installed in the area and they are using them. Meanwhile, those cameras are not installed to fine citizens, but for security.
According to Rashid, the police did not inform him that they were fined, but a warning was announced, which he accepted. Meanwhile, the police identified the citizen without an identity document, name, surname and phone number, without properly informing about it.
Rashid Avdoyan states that he did not sign any document, including under the administrative offense protocol. First, the police did not offer to sign, and then the procedure for bringing administrative responsibility and appeal was not explained to him. He learned that he was fined only after receiving the decision.
Rashid Avdoyan was fined for violating the requirements of Article 6, Part 1, Clause d of the Law “On the Reduction and Prevention of Health Damage Due to the Use of Tobacco Products and Their Substitutes”, that is, it is prohibited to use tobacco products, tobacco product substitutes (except for medical purposes) use of tobacco product substitutes) by the community in children’s playgrounds and play parks.
The citizen reports that he smoked in the park, away from the children’s playground.
Spokesman of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Narek Sargsyan, told “Hetk” that on December 18, the citizen himself handed over his personal data, address, year of birth, to the police officers. There was no need to ask for a phone number.
According to N. Sargsyan, the protocol was drawn up on the spot, but the citizen refused to take his copy. He was told on the spot that there will be an administrative hearing on December 25, but R. Avdoyan refused to take the summons and appear at the hearing.
We asked Narek Sargsyan if there is any evidence that the citizen was notified about the administrative proceedings, to which N. Sargsyan conveyed that he was notified on the spot, no additional summons was sent.
Suppose we accept the clarification of the ministry, which contradicts the information provided by the citizen. In that case, the important question remains open: how will it be proven that the citizen was actually aware that an administrative proceeding was initiated against him and was properly notified about it?
Rashid Avdoyan claims that he was not informed about the proceedings and the fine. They did not ask the address of the residence either. He himself said that he is from the village next to Armavir, he was not informed about the ban, but he did not mention the name of the village, nor the address of the house.
We asked Davit Khudatyan, head of the extended community of Armavir, whether there are designated smoking areas in the parks of Armavir or whether there are signs prohibiting smoking.
The head of the community clarified that there are no separate areas. There are no signs posted in the parks either, but they regularly post papers stating that smoking is prohibited.
“To be honest, at this moment, I don’t know how many of them are left or not, but we have pasted them with self-adhesive papers several times; I think some of them have been preserved,” says Davit Khudatyan.
The main image was created using DALL·E 3