Amnesty is a humanitarian gesture which will ease the political tension in the country, as well as ease the burden in prisons, said ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) MP Karine Atshemyan at a meeting with journalists in Yerevan today. The latest legislative amendments to the RA Criminal Code have also served as fertile ground for the amnesty, she added.
However, Heritage Party MP Zaruhi Postanjyan, also present at the press conference, said the frequency of amnesty is not due to the Armenian authorities humanistic aspirations and desire to do good for the public.
“In fact, this comes from a very bad day [the difficult situation faced by the authorities]. And the bad thing is that in 2006, amendments were made to those laws which provided for the right to conditional parole. By the president’s order, a commission was established which artificially prevented the realization of this right,” she said.
Postanjyan described how prison cells in Armenia today are overcrowded, and, citing Nubarashen penitentiary as an example, said this institution is designed to hold 800 prisoners, but today it holds 1,300 prisoners.
The MP also noted that the amnesty, to a certain extent, will ease the situation, but this doesn’t mean that it will resolve all the problems. “If we’re not going to have a fair judicial system, then one year later there will be this overcrowding again.”
In response to Postanjyan, Atshemyan urged her colleague to go to the National Assembly and vote for the amnesty. (Note, the press conference took place before the vote in parliament today. The National Assembly already ruled in favor of the amnesty.)
“You initiated the amnesty with your president, and you can approve this amnesty,” said Postanjyan in reply.