Karabakh war veteran Harutyun Saribekyan, who was arrested on December 6, 2015 on the suspicion of selling weapons to the "criminal group" neutralized by Armenia's security forces late in November, has been on a hunger strike for 32 consecutive days demanding release, local Haykakan Zhamanak reported Tuesday.
A spokesperson for the penitentiary department of the Justice Ministry has confirmed to the daily that Saribekyan went on a hunger strike on December 11 and was transferred to a special cell for strikers. As stated by the ministry official, the convict's condition is satisfactory, and measures are being taken to stop the hunger strike.
The veteran's wife, Ruzan Hovhannisyan, told Haykakan Zhamanak that her husband has been refusing not only food, but also water. The woman also claimed that her husband had had nothing to do with the neutralized gang.
Saribekyan, as stated by his wife, had serious health conditions even prior to the arrest; he had undergone cardiac catheterization and was to be operated on in a month.
Hovhannisyan also presented the circumstances in which her husband was arrested; “He had gone to the [Arevshat] village administration and was arrested by masked people upon exiting the building. On the same day, officers of the National Security Service came to our house and conducted a search for several hours. They searched the entire house, the roof, the gardens, and found nothing."
She added that she did not understand why her husband was being held in jail and insisted that "he was not even acquainted with the members of the arrested gang.”