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Armenian Men Held in Detention for Over Five Months Go on Dry Hunger Strike

Two inmates of  “Nubarashen” penitentiary in Yerevan, Sirak Sakanyan and Kamo Hayrapetyan, went on a “dry” hunger strike (they refuse both food and water) on Monday to protest their 5-month detention, Armenian “Haykakan Zhamanak” daily reported. 

When the prosecution failed to prove the first charges against Sakanyan and Hayrapetyan, new charges were brought against the defendants, which, according to the daily, were not supported by any factual evidence either. 

Note, on December 31, 2014, a car accident took place on Erebuni Street in Yerevan, and when the drivers raised a fuss, the passengers, Sakanyan and Hayrapetyan, as well as their two companions, were detained by the Erebuni department of RA Police and arrested on charges of obstructing a police officer. The two men have been held in detention for 5 months; however, the prosecution has failed to prove the case due to a lack of evidence. The only witnesses were the police officers on whom no injury was found. On the contrary, forensic medical examination showed Sakanyan and Hayrapetyan were the ones to receive bodily injuries during the arrest. The defendants filed a claim; however, no proceedings were initiated against the police officers. 

After five months of investigation, the prosecution has changed the charges and accused the detainees of hooliganism. These charges, as lawyer Alikhanyan told “Haykakan Zhamanak,” were not proven either. 

“CCTV footage has been sent to forensic examination, but there is no record of hooliganism or violence against a representative of authority on them. Testimonies are given by interested parties – police officers. There is no other proof,” Alikhanyan said.

Sakanyan and Hayrapetyan have already gone on a “dry” hunger strike in February; they stopped the strike on condition that the investigation would not be fabricated.

Now the inmates are demanding a meeting with the RA Prosecutor General, Minister of Justice, Chairman of the Investigative Committee, the Ombudsman, or their representatives.