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Intro to Journalism
Hard News Article
Illegal fines at an all-time high in Armenia: “Varordi ynker” firm against all injustices
On January 23, the issue of illegal fines by the government for parking in supposedly legal areas (red lines) has stirred up confusion among drivers in Yerevan. The NGO “Varordi Ynker” provides unpaid assistance for drivers who apply to their services.
The “Varordi Ynker” organization officially became a social organization in September 24, 2016. The organization provides assistance for drivers regarding laws that are unclear in order to prevent drivers from receiving any illegal fines or treated unfairly.
The organization has been pushing hard in terms of not only presenting complaints to the government, but through their actions, creating a society of drivers both protected and aware of all the ins and outs of the traffic laws.
Drivers, who’ve been treated unfairly or think that they have been illegally fined, can reach out to this organization by writing through their Facebook page for immediate solutions. Alternatively, for issues much larger in scope, they can head to the organization’s main website Tuganq.am, which contains all the necessary information for drivers in order to start their application process.
Those drivers who asked the support of “Varordi Ynker” organization regarding their fines (red lines parking law) have all (approximately six hundred cases) emerged as victors in the court and in the town hall, since the government only insists to pay a certain amount of money for the fine without telling the actual laws governing it.
The process during the first months of the organization was collecting approximately 300-400 lodges through their Facebook page. The drivers displayed their fines to the organization and if there rose the possibility of filing a complaint and fight for it, the organization assisted the drivers by creating a lodge and asked the driver to show up for signing. However, if it deemed impossible due to the lack of any legal grounds, they suggested the drivers to pay for the fine. Later on, the organization decided to do everything for the customers and the only thing that the customer had to do was to pay for the postal service (which is approximately 100-300 drams) and a signature, which afterwards a lawyer assigned by the organization prepares a lodge and sends it to court.
Regarding this entire process, the head of the organization Serge Ghahramanyan said, “If we see that the fine is reasonable, we accept the claim. However, with drivers with unreasonable fines, we try to work harder in order to teach them everything there is about fines and the laws attached, so they can potentially learn from the process and not repeat it in the future. Since by just fining them without further explanation, there’s no teaching process in the procedure that would help a driver from being fined again for the same reasons.”
“Recently we sent a lot of letters with pictures of road bumps to the town hall in order to pressure them on fixing the imperfections plaguing our roads. Since these imperfections are the main cause for a large number of road accidents and eventual fines. We’ve also presented them the imperfections and dirtiness of the pedestrian crossing areas and have insisted them on cleaning and repainting the crossings in order to make them more visible for drivers.” Lately the responsibility regarding the regulation and the safety of Yerevan’s streets has fallen into the hands of “Varordi Ynker”organization, where the NGO has stepped up where the police has let the people down, since the government has already complied to most of the NGO’s requests. Mr. Ghahramanyan continues, “The only major imperfection that still exists, is the road leading towards the H1 headquarters, which is still rocky and neglected by the government. However, the problems of the red line parking fines or suggestions against traffic jams, the government has either opted not to reply or just solve a small portion of the problems.”
Because of the their constant successes, the police and the government have started following the NGO very often and during these three months the road cameras have multiplied significantly and so has the number of fines given to drivers. Thus, the “Varordi Ynker” organization found out a large number of wrongfully accused fines, issued regarding a specific law and later presented forward as something completely different.
The organization encourages the government to do their work properly instead of putting groundless fines.
Mr. Ghahramanyan emphasized, “Everyone is equal in accordance with Armenian law no matter their nationality, meaning everyone should be legally fined without any exceptions.” The organization showed evidence to the government that drivers with Russian car numbers have never been fined and the fact that whoever is aware of their immunity, usually end up abusing the law in more ways than one, which “Varordi Ynker” has risen up to fight against next.
Head of “Varordi Ynker” social organization: Serge Ghahramanyan
Tel. Number: +374 94 11 55 98
Address: Yerevan, Armenia. Mamikonyants 36