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Armenian Political Prisoner Ends Hunger Strike Due to Health Issues

Jailed oppositionist Vardan Vardanyan has ended his nearly month-long hunger strike in Armenia’s Vardashen prison because of health concerns, Vardanyan’s daughter told Epress.am on Wednesday.

“He felt unwell and was taken to a doctor for medical assistance, after which he decided to end his hunger strike,” she said.

Vardanyan’s son, Tigran Vardanyan, had earlier told Epress.am that the oppositionist had gone on a hunger strike to in a show of support for all political prisoners and other wrongfully convicted persons in Armenia.

Gor Ghlechyan, a spokesperson for the penitentiary department at Armenia’s Justice Ministry, had, in turn, announced that Vardanyan was demanding pardons for all the prisoners currently awaiting clemency on the occasion of Armenian Army Day, January 28.

On October 17, 2014, Shant Harutyunyan and his 13 friends were found guilty for acts of hooliganism during a November 5, 2013 protest. Albert Margaryan and Vahe Mkrtchyan were also charged for using violence against a representative of the authorities.

Judge Mnatsakan Martirosyan sentenced Shant Harutyunyan to 6 years imprisonment, Albert Margaryan also received 6 years, Vahe Mkrtchyan – 7 years, Liparit Poghosyan – 5 years, Vardan Vardanyan – 5 years, Hayk Harutyunyan – 4 years and 6 months, Alek Poghosyan – 4 years, Mkrtich Hovhannisyan – 4 years, Armen Hovhannisyan – 2 years, Sevak Mnatsakanyan – 1 year 6 months, Tigran Petrosyan – 1 year, and Misak Arakellyan was fined fifty times the minimum salary. Tigran Petrosyan and Sevak Mnatsakanyan have already been released from jail.

The defendants do not admit guilt, noting that there were provocateurs, and plainclothes police officers incited the conflict during the rally. Several local human rights activists and international organizations have recognized the oppositionists as political prisoners.