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Coup Plot Suspect Goes on Dry Hunger Strike to Protest Extension of Detention

Nerses Poghosyan, a suspect arrested eight months ago as part of the Armenian security forces’ investigation into an alleged coup plot initiated by New Armenia and Founding Parliament opposition movements leading member Zhirayr Sefilyan, went on a dry hunger strike on Friday in protest of a Yerevan district court decision to extend his detention for two months, his lawyer, Arayik Papikyan, told Epress.am today.

According to Papikyan, the protester is also refusing medical care, despite having serious health problems; “His legs especially are in a very bad condition; they are swollen, and Poghosyan has difficulty walking on his own. After the latest 30-day hunger strike, he has acquired a number of illnesses, which we are worried might get worse with time. He has kidney and blood pressure problems, headaches and heart complaints. He has been prescribed medication, but he is refusing to take the drugs.”

Nerses Poghosyan, along with Sefilyan and 7 other suspects, was charged with article 235.2 of the Armenian Criminal Code (illegal purchase, transportation or carrying of weapons, ammunition, explosives or explosive devices, committed by a group with prior agreement). According to Papikyan, however, Poghosyan denies all charges brought against him; “He has been an active participant of political and social protest actions and demonstrations since 2006. It’s possible that he is being persecuted for his [anti-government] activities.”