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Bareghamyan Recommended for Early Release

The administration of a prison located near the central Armenian town of Sevan decided late Thursday to recommend the early release of its most famous inmate, Aram Bareghamyan, reports RFE/RL’s Armenian service.

Bareghamyan headed a regional chapter of a major political party aligned with the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) before being arrested in the wake of the disputed presidential ballot. He was sentenced to six years in prison for allegedly assaulting a police officer during the March 2008 unrest in Yerevan.

The prison sentenced was based on the police officer’s incriminating testimony. Both Bareghamyan and the HAK leadership consider it politically motivated.

Arsen Babayan, a spokesman for the RA Justice Ministry department managing Armenia’s prisons, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that the prison administration’s recommendation will be considered by April 5 by a government commission dealing with parole applications. A positive decision by the commission would have to be endorsed by a court.

Armenian courts have already granted parole to several HAK loyalists in recent months. Two of them were freed as recently as on March 17.