Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has signed an amnesty decree granting pardon to 8 convicts in “Vardashen” penitentiary, a spokesperson for the public relations department of the Justice Ministry's Penitentiary Division told A1plus.am Thursday. According to the website, “Vardashen” inmates had appealed for Sargsyan's pardon, saying they would voluntarily enlist in the Nagorno-Karabakh defense army.
Speaking to Epress.am, lawyer Harutyun Baghdasaryan said that there are no mandatory rules regarding the purpose of a pardon. “Even if they go to Karabakh and return a few days later, they are still exempt from criminal liability. Releasing a prisoner is the President's right; however, the goal does not serve as basis for one's pardon. Therefore, the basis on which these people were extended amnesty is irrelevant,” he stated.
Sargsyan's decision, Baghdasaryan added, was more of a political gesture than a legal one; “Everyone is now going to appeal to the President for exemption from criminal liability. In my opinion, this is not so much a legal as a political action, the purpose of which, perhaps, is to incite political agitation.”