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Lawyers Ask European Court to Stand Up for Seriously Ill Yerevan Prisoner

The lawyers for Artur Sargsyan, the man who on July 26 drove through the police cordon around the seized Yerevan police station to deliver food the members of the “Daredevils of Sasun” armed group and was subsequently charged with assisting the gunmen in hostage-taking and illegal firearms and ammunition transportation, have filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to ensure that Armenia’s authorities provide proper medical care to the inmate and transfer him to a civilian hospital, if need be, according to a statement issued on Monday evening by lawyers Tigran Yegoryan and Davit Gyurjyan.

The lawyers insist that Sargsyan’s numerous requests for medical assistance have been continuously ignored by the management of Yerevan’s Nubarashen prison, where he is being held. Even after being diagnosed with esophageal erosion and stomach ulcers, and repeated episodes of vomiting blood, the inmate has only been prescribed painkillers by the prison doctor.

“Nubarashen officials, however, are not providing him with the required medications, nor do they give him meals for his special dietary needs. Instead, they urge Sargsyan to turn to his relatives for help, yet at the same time they refuse to create a means for the inmate to establish communication with the outside world,” the statement said, adding that Sargsyan’s brother was informed about his condition only on December 14.

Last week, Sargsyan’s lawyers had filed appeal letters with the Ministry of Justice, the Nubarashen prison, and the office of the Armenian ombudsman, demanding that necessary measures were taken immediately to transfer the inmate – who has physical activity restrictions – to a civilian hospital and provide him with proper medical care, but they have yet to receive “an effective response” from the officials.

In the appeal filed with the ECtHR, the lawyers draw the court’s attention to the fact that the Bechterew’s disease, which the inmate has previously undergone a surgery for, is grounds alone for changing his preventive measure, since it is incompatible with prison conditions. “For this reason, under the No. 825.37 government decree, this disease has been ranked as one not compatible with detention. Meanwhile, the provisional arrest regime implemented in Armenia provides for more stringent restrictions on prisoners than the penalty of confinement envisaged by the law.”