Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) co-rapporteurs for monitoring Armenia are in Yerevan, where they are meeting with parliamentary factions. The co-rapporteurs have already met with representatives of the Heritage Party and Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun, ARF-D).
Head of the ARF-D faction Armen Rustamyan (pictured) informed Epress.am that the co-rapporteurs wanted to know about the existence of political prisoners in Armenia and the protection of the rights of LGBT people.
"They mentioned 15 political prisoners [but] didn't give names. And we said, standards must be applied to determine whether they're political prisoners or not — why leave room for political assessments?" he said.
Asked by Epress.am whether he couldn't guess to whom the co-rapporteurs were referring, Rustamyan said he doesn't know about any political prisoners in Armenia.
On the matter of LGBT rights, Rustamyan said that the ARF-D is a member of Socialist International and is guided by the same principles. "Questions about LGBT people can be posed to those political parties that haven't expressed a position. The ARF-D is a member of Socialist International," he said.
Rustamyan mentioned that his party raised the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh citizens, who, given the conditions stipulated by the EU, would've been in an economic impasse, if Armenia signed the EU Association Agreement.
Head of the Heritage Party faction, Ruben Hakobyan, in conversation with Epress.am, said the co-rapporteurs in their meeting with his party, apart from the aforementioned issues, also raised the issue of constitutional reform.
As for political prisoners, the co-rapporteurs didn't provide the names of the 15 political prisoners to representatives of the Heritage Party either. "I said there is political persecution in Armenia and this is nothing new," said Hakobyan.
PACE representatives will meet with members of the Armenian National Congress faction today.