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Drastic Changes in Convicts’ Hospital Connected to Appointment of New Chief, Lawyer Says

Lawyer Davit Gyurjyan was denied an opportunity to see his client Sasna Tsrer armed group member Aram Hakobyan in his private room at the Convicts’ Hospital penitentiary. The prisoner was instead forced to go to the visitation room. Speaking to Epress.am on Tuesday, Gyurjyan said visiting his client in his room had not been a problem in the past: “This time, however, the officers forcibly brought Hakobyan to the visitation room, but it is not recommended that he takes a long walk because he gets out of breath easily. Hakobyan also told me that officers have been locking the doors of the inmates’ rooms, depriving them of the opportunity to ventilate the area. He said the inmates are nearly suffocating in the hot air because there’s no air conditioning in the rooms, and now they can’t even open the doors to let some air in.”

According to the lawyer, his client has also been deprived of the chance to use the toilet and the washbasin installed in the corridor. “He was previously able to leave his room freely and use the toilet under a guard’s oversight. But now he has been deprived of this opportunity because one guard watches 6 inmates, and one guard cannot handle that many people,” Gyurjyan said, suggesting that this drastic shift in the hospital could only be connected to the appointment of a new director.

“There have been no other changes. Besides, I have been informed that the inmates’ rooms were recently searched with no suspicious or dangerous items having been discovered. So I see no reason for these limitations other than the new chief’s appointment.”

Gyurjyan said he has already applied to the Penitentiary Department of the Justice Ministry to either install air conditioners’ in the rooms and ensure that there are more guards available or change back to the old regime: “Otherwise, we’ll consider this an inhuman treatment towards the inmates.”