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Protesters in Yerevan Demand Release of Yazidi Businessman

Early Thursday morning, several dozen representatives of Armenia's Yazidi community gathered outside the Armenian presidential residence to demand the release of “unlawfully arrested” Yazidi businessman Jndi Amaryan. 

Protester, head of the Shams humanitarian NGO Rustam Bakoyan (pictured) told Epress.am that Amaryan, who has been held in custody since April 2, was charged with large-scale extortion.

“All the Yazidi organizations, Yazidi village heads, the entire Yazidi population [of Armenia] are raising their voice of protest. Amaryan has been accused of something he has not done: they say he was involved in an extortion case at one of his restaurants. But we know for sure that's not true. He was in mourning for his mother who had died 4-5 days before the incident; he couldn't have concerned himself with anything else,” Bakoyan said.

He added that the members of the Yazidi community have written open letters to Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan and Human Rights Ombudsman Arman Tatoyan, but they haven't received a response yet.