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Gaspari Subjected to Torture, Inhuman Treatment in Prison, Lawyer Says

Lawyer Tigran Yegoryan told Epress.am Wednesday that civic activist, political prisoner Vardges Gaspari has for the last two days been subjected to continuous violence and torture in his cell in Yerevan's Nubarashen prison. The cellmates, as stated by Yegoryan, have told Gaspari he would “never get out alive” from prison.

The lawyer added that the activist went on a dry hunger strike on February 22, but was not taken under immediate medical supervision by Nubarashen officials. “He is being subjected to beatings, torture and other forms of inhuman treatment by criminals in contact with prison management. This is a very urgent matter and should be raised by civil society and international organizations,” Yegoryan said.

Vardges Gaspari was taken to Yerevan's Nork psychiatric hospital earlier today for a forensic psychiatric assessment; however, the exam was postponed after an intervention from the prisoner's lawyers, and Gaspari was taken back to Nubarashen after about two hours. “We hadn't been provided with the materials that had been submitted to the expert committee. We learned about the decision a few minutes before the assessment was supposed to start, when we had no chance to appeal against it,” Tigran Yegoryan added.

Human rights defender Artur Sakunts, who visited Gaspari in the hospital, told Epress.am that the investigator decided to send Gaspari to a psychiatric assessment after the activist asked the official whether he had been involved in the criminal proceedings in connection with the March 1, 2008, incidents: “The investigator found this to be a reason to worry about Gaspari's mental state,” Sakunts said, adding that Gaspari was in a grave condition when he saw him and struggled to remain on his feet.