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Shant Harutyunyan is Also a Russian Political Prisoner: Human Rights Activist

There will be an event dedicated to political prisoners throughout Armenia's history at 1 pm on Feb. 2 in Liberty Square, said one of the organizers, Vrezh Zatikyan, at a press conference earlier today.

Zatikyan said that Feb. 2 is the birthday of political activist Shant Harutyunyan (pictured), whom many consider to be a political prisoner. Zatikyan stressed that in Armenia today, there are 15 political prisoners, 14 of whom were arrested on Nov. 5, 2013, at the start of the march initiated by Harutyunyan. The other political prisoner, Zatikyan identified, is reserve colonel and Karabakh War veteran Volodya Avetisyan. 

At the Feb. 2 rally, Edward Zorikyan will sing, and there will be a conversation on Armenian history — in particular, about Garegin Nzhdeh, the soldier and statesman widely regarded as a national hero.

Another participant of the press conference, human rights activist Artur Sakunts, said there have been many political prisoners in Armenia's history, but Harutyunyan's case is unique because "he is also a political prisoner of Russia, since he was fighting against Putin's regime." 

The human rights activist believes that the attention of political forces, particularly parliamentary factions, toward Harutyunyan and the men arrested with him is not great. Though the international human rights watchdog Human Rights Watch mentioned Harutyunyan's case in their annual review and considered his arrest to be politically motivated, according to Sakunts, the international public, broadly speaking, has not yet given its assessment of what happened on Nov. 5 in Yerevan.