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Armenian Convicts Warn President of ‘Unpredictable Consequences’ If Parole Issue Is Not Resolved

The inmates of Vardashen penitentiary in Yerevan have written an open letter to Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan calling on the country head to put an end to the “faulty conduct” of the independent parole commission and resolve the issue of the prisoners' early release. 

In the letter, signed by 88 inmates and sent to local Armtimes.com online newspaper Tuesday afternoon, the prisoners say they “trust and believe with wholehearted assurance” that Sargsyan, as the country's head and “defender of the Constitution will be able to put an end to the vicious conduct of the so-called 'independent commission' which, in reality, acts not in accordance with the Constitution and its provisions, but rather willfully, in no way justified, disregarding all moral standards and violating all principles of justice.”

The prisoners remind the President that by law hundreds of convicts currently have the right to apply for parole or a change in their restraining measure. “However, this does not happen at the whim of the independent commission, and, as a result, the convicts are forced to appeal to you, as well as resort to extreme measures. […] The commission's irresponsible activities can lead to very bad and unpredictable consequences.”

People, the letter reads, were tried under the law, and they can rightly demand that the law be applied fully, and the inmates be “allowed to return to a normal human life.”

“Dear Mr. President, all of us, the prisoners of Vardashen prison, find our fellows' decision to go on a hunger strike justified, and unless the commission's self-willed conduct is terminated, the number of strikers will increase tenfold.”

Recall, eight inmates of the “Vardashen” penitentiary, including Nagorno-Karabakh war veteran, reserve army colonel Volodya Avetisyan, went on an open-ended hunger strike after an Armenian independent parole board “unjustifiably” rejected the retired colonel's second appeal for an early release.