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Armenian Hunger-Striking Prisoner Plans to Now Refuse Water

An Armenian hunger-striking prisoner now intends to refuse water, too, according to Arayik Papikyan, a lawyer with Armenia’s Helsinki Association for Human Rights. Nerses Poghosyan, a suspect arrested seven months ago as part of the Armenian law enforcement forces’ investigation into an alleged coup plot, has been on a hunger strike since December 15 with a demand to be released on his own recognizance or on bail.

“[Poghosyan] is severely depleted and exhausted, despite insisting that he has no health complaints. But it is evident from his appearance that he is in a very bad condition,” Papikyan, who visited the prisoner on January 8, told Epress.am on Monday, adding that prison medics periodically visit Poghosyan to keep eye on the prisoner’s blood pressure.

Nerses Poghosyan had previously appealed to the office of Armenia’s human rights Ombudsman, the general prosecutor’s office, and the Ministry of Justice to protest against his arrest. According to Papikyan, however, the prosecutor’s office has yet to respond, while representatives of the Ombudsman’s office only visited the prisoner once at the end of December. The Ministry of Justice, the lawyer said, has also failed to take any substantial steps to help Poghosyan.