The allocation committee of the Penitentiary Department of the RA Ministry of Justice satisfied on Tuesday, June 16, the appeal of political prisoners Shant Harutyunyan and Vardan Vardanyan to be transferred to an individual cell, Gor Ghlechyan, spokesperson for the RA Justice Ministry's Penitentiary Department, informed Epress.am.
Note, with this demand, Harutyunyan and Vardanyan have been staging a hunger strike for 8 and 4 days, respectively.
Following the entry into force of the sentence against them, Harutyunyan and Vardanyan were transferred to a semi-open regime cell block at “Vardashen” penitentiary, and they had been kept there up until their hunger strike.
Armenian National Congress MP Nikol Pashinyan, who visited the prisoners on June 13, wrote on his Facebook page: “Shant Harutyunyan sees threats to his security and believes they derive from the leadership of the RA National Security Service (NSS), in particular, NSS Deputy Director Arzuman Harutyunyan.”
The MP also conveyed a message from Shant Harutyunyan to the media: “I’ve appealed to the head of “Vardashen” penitentiary to transfer my friends and I to an individual cell, since the Russian KGB is trying to kill me through its Armenian agents; specifically, General Arzuman Harutyunyan, who is an agent of not only Russian, but also Azerbaijani KGB; and he knows that I have knowledge of that.”
Recall, on October 17, 2014, Shant Harutyunyan and his 13 friends were found guilty for acts of hooliganism during a November 5, 2013 protest. Albert Margaryan and Vahe Mkrtchyan were also charged for using violence against a representative of the authorities.
Judge Mnatsakan Martirosyan sentenced Shant Harutyunyan to 6 years imprisonment, Albert Margaryan also received 6 years, Vahe Mkrtchyan – 7 years, Liparit Poghosyan – 5 years, Vardan Vardanyan – 5 years, Hayk Harutyunyan – 4 years and 6 months, Alek Poghosyan – 4 years, Mkrtich Hovhannisyan – 4 years, Armen Hovhannisyan – 2 years, Sevak Mnatsakanyan – 1 year 6 months, Tigran Petrosyan – 1 year, and Misak Arakellyan was fined fifty times the minimum salary. Tigran Petrosyan and Sevak Mnatsakanyan have already been released from jail.
The defendants do not admit guilt, noting that there were provocateurs, and plainclothes police officers incited the conflict during the rally. Several local human rights activists and international organizations have recognized the oppositionists as political prisoners.