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Two Members of Yerevan Armed Group on Hunger Strike, Held in ‘Unlivable Conditions’

Two gunmen from the Daredevils of Sasun armed group, Armen Bilyan and Smbat Barseghyan, are holding a hunger strike at the Nubarashen prison in Yerevan; their lawyers, Armine Fanyan and Hayk Alumyan, told Epress.am on Tuesday that the conditions in the cell designated for hunger-strikers are “practically unlivable.”

Bilyan has been refusing food for 8 days; he demands that he is transferred to a civilian hospital where he would be provided with proper medical treatment. The prisoner wants to undergo a head examination, which, according to lawyer Fanyan, he is prepared to pay for.

“There is no proper medical stuff or equipment in Nubarashen: there’s basically one physician for everything,” she said. What’s more, she added, the cells in the prison are always overcrowded; Bilyan’s cell in particular, where there is sufficient room only for 7 prisoners, currently holds 13 inmates “who constantly smoke.” “As for the cell for the hunger-strikers’ cell, the conditions there are unlivable. My client is currently held in a huge cell, which is never heated properly.”

According to Fanyan, a “just-for-the-sake-of-it” committee invited at the Convicts’ Hospital has decided that Bilyan “does not suffer from any disorders.” “Their cynicism has now reached the point where they think a person would hold a hunger strike for no reason whatsoever.”

Smbat Barseghyan, for his part, as been on a hunger strike for 4 days, demanding that he is transferred from Nubarashen to Armavir jail. “We’ve filed an appeal with the authorities, but we have yet to receive a response,” his lawyer Hayk Alumyan told us, confirming that the cell for hunger-strikers “is freezing cold.”