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Armenian Opposition Activists Go Into Another Hunger Strike in Jail

Arrested activist of New Armenia opposition alliance Gevorg Safaryan has gone into yet another hunger strike Friday evening in protest over prison conditions. The oppositionist was detained by Armenian police on New Year’s Eve after a scuffle with law enforcement officers on Yerevan’s Freedom Square. He subsequently started a hunger strike demanding to be transferred to an individual cell. A statement issued by New Armenia, however, says Safaryan’s transfer to one was “short-lived.”

“Several days after being placed in a separate cell with Hayk Kyureghyan, Safaryan was once again transferred to a regular cell on January 14. He immediately declared a hunger strike, and Kyureghyan has joined the protest action, in support of Safaryan,” the oppositionists stated.

New Armenia reports that Gevorg Safaryan has now been taken to a punishment cell, while Kyureghyan has been joined by several other hunger-strikers in his “very small” cell, “which has led to intolerable conditions for the inmates.”

The alliance also refutes the authorities’ claims that Safaryan’s and other inmates’ transfers are due to prison overpopulation: “Gevorg’s punishment cell is quite spacious,” New Armenia stated, citing lawmaker Zaruhi Postanjyan who has recently visited the arrested activist.

“This proves that the criminal regime has put its entire arsenal of Jesuit sophistication into effect to turn life into hell for Gevorg Safaryan and Hayk Kyureghyan, using their incarceration as a method of torture, humiliation, and inhuman treatment,” the statement concludes.