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President ‘Has Put Armenia’s Independence at Stake;’ Jailed Activist Ends Hunger Strike

Hayk Kyureghyan, an anti-government activist and a supporter of Armenian political prisoners sentenced in 2015 to nine years in jail for hooliganism, ended an 8-day hunger strike on Thursday, his father, Armenak Kyureghyan, told Epress.am Recall, at the start of the June 12 2014 hearing in the case of Shant Harutyunyan and his friends, Kyureghyan climbed onto a car outside the courthouse and shot rounds from an air pistol in the police’s direction, attempting, he said, to prevent “an unfair judgment on Shant.”

According to Armenak Kyureghyan, staffers of the Armenian Ombudsman’s office visited his son during the hunger strike and subsequently sent a letter to the Ministry of Justice to inform the authorities about Hayk’s health issues.

“His health problems were not caused by the latest hunger strikes. He has heart and nervous system issues, and an allergy which he has acquired in prison. The condition worsened when Hayk went on a dry hunger strike, demanding a transfer to a safer separate cell,” the father said.

Along with stopping the hunger strike, the prisoner also made a statement in connection with Armenia’s Independence Day, accusing president Serzh Sargsyan of having put the country’s independence at stake “for the sake of his own impunity and the ability to continuously rob the country.”

“Serzh Sargsyan has turned the country into his own personal shop, a public house where everyone – starting with political forces and ending with ordinary citizens – is forcibly exploited, bought and sold. And all this has no political motivation. His only motivation is to rob, profit and retain power in order to remain unpunished. For this, he has put everything in Armenia at stake, and even the independence achieved by the people’s blood and deprivation. This is the reason for my hunger strike; it is a resistance and a warning that without a sovereign, independent, democratic, and nationally strong state, we are doomed to massacres, genocide, migration, poverty and ultimately non-existence.

“Today, I am ending my hunger strike and calling on all my friends to give up their intention of supporting me with an open-ended hunger strike. Our will is unbending, our struggle is just, and victory belongs to the just. I also appeal to all those concerned to unite, start a resistance, and defend the country’s independence. Tomorrow will be too late,” Kyureghyan wrote.