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Jailed Veteran Goes on Hunger Strike to Demand Better Detention Conditions

Nagorno-Karabakh war veteran, reserve army colonel Volodya Avetisyan went on an open-ended hunger strike Monday, demanding better detention conditions and fair parole consideration from the administration of Yerevan's Vardashen prison, Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor office reports.

Avetisyan had written an open letter late last week on behalf of himself and several other Vardashen prisoners to Armenia's General Prosecutor Gevorg Kostanyan, Minister of Justice Arpine Hovhannisyan as well as three opposition lawmakers, warning about a resulting hunger strike in case prison administration failed to improve  the convicts' detention conditions and if they were not given fair and objective consideration for parole. 

“Courts have deprived us of our freedom of movement, of our rights to sleep, to medical treatment, to parole and to an open regime,” Avetisyan had particularly written, saying that the convicts would go on a hunger strike if the prison did not immediately take on these issues and well as organize a meeting with the protesting inmates.

Note, investigation against Volodya Avetisyan started in 2013. In summer 2014, a Yerevan first instance court found him guilty of fraud and attempted fraud and sentenced him to 6.5 years in jail. According to the indictment, Avetisyan received $2,000 from Henrikh Zakaryan to exempt his grandson from compulsory military service and attempted to receive $500 from Albert Matosyan to transfer his son to another military unit. All higher judicial instances subsequently upheld the verdict.