լ ր ա գ ր ո ղ ն ե ր   հ ա ն ու ն   մ ա ր դ ու   ի ր ա վ ու ն ք ն ե ր ի
լ ր ա տ վ ա կ ա նլ ր ա տ վ ա կ ա ն   կ ա յ ք
ՀԱՅ Eng

28.03.2018 | human rights in closed institutions

Life-sentences prisoner: There are many really worthy people here who should be pardoned (video)

Life-sentences prisoner: There are many really worthy people here who should be pardoned (video)
Interview with life-sentenced prisoner Artur Mkrtchyan

Artur, let`s talk about issues related to early release of the prisoners, of which the convicts complain most, and we know that it does not work satisfactorily, especially in the case of those life-sentenced.

The issue of early release does not seem to involve the life-sentenced prisoners. One can get the impression that it does not work purposefully, because there are so many people who, even though committed a crime, made a mistake, bad mistake, but are not criminals by their nature. And here, in prison, they preserved and increased their human values and are ready to go to society. I would say, some might be even worthier members of the society than than many of those who are in freedom. Here, they served their sentences, have substantially reassessed their mission on earth, in the state, and in the family. One may think they [the authorities] do not even want to consider the issue of early release or to look who is in front of them. If you are a life-sentenced, that’s it, you are rejected. It happened to me too. When they were going to submit my candidacy for early release, the prison workers who knew me very well, who knew my story and how I ended up here, advised me not to argue with the commission, “Just tell them you regret: the important thing is to save yourself.” In other words, the state employees know that there is no fair or honest thing in this. So, it turns out that I must falsify, say things that I do not consider to be accurate. This is the bad thing. The law should just start working.

Do you apply for early release, or do they submit you?

They do it. And, there are issues after submission: everything is being artificially delayed; all procedures are being done the last day of the timeframes. So, year after year the submission day to the commission falls further. Also, there is a problem in the law: it is written in a way as to blackmail the convicts. If you disregarded the decision of the commission and came to the court, you will be deprived of the right of being submitted for early release not for one but three years. Here, the court becomes not a house of justice, but the opposite -- house of punishment. It can have very negative consequences for the state if the citizens start viewing the court in that respect. Here too, it seems to me, the law should be revised.

I know you have applied for early release. Would you tell us some details?

Yes, I have applied and have been rejected. The first refusal we appealed in the European Court. It is in process. The second refusal I received at the end of February; the explanation given to me was that, if free, I may commit a crime. But that is absurd. This means that I am being punished for something I did not do. As if they are Nastradamus. Everybody is rejected for the same reason: as if they have a standard form and just put different names on it.

The minister of justice Davit Harutyunyan is optimistic that a positive change may take place in the issue of early release.

The minister should not be optimistic; it is his work, he should state clearly whether there would be a change or not. It would be good if David Harutyunyan spoke in the near future and said that this particular prisonerwould be released early. Or go to the penitentiary and chat with life-sentenced prisoners because we see better the inside of the law, the gaps and the vulnerabilities of it. Just visit, hear, and see what can be changed, how it can be modified and corrected. I`ve been here for almost 22 years: let them point out just a move, a behavior, an approach of mine that was not suitable for a Christian, for an Armenian, for men, and for human values in general.

The only neglect is that I was keeping a phone to keep it touch with my relatives. Anyone will realize that you would use every opportunity to contact your parents and family.

There is also the following issue. After 20 years in prison, there should be a regime change, but it did not happen in my case. I do not know for what reasons, my regime does not change, and they do not keep me informed, they do not even answer to my inquiries for two years already. Some employees have been replaced, but nobody ever answered for what reason they do not change my regime from closed to semi-closed one. What is the goal of imprisonment in general? To be a lawful citizen. But the person comes here and sees that people who convicted him do not care about the law. In nowadays, people are trying to get a government post for self-defense: they need their positions as shields.

There are rumors that the president is going to grant pardon to five life-sentenced prisoners. What do they think here, do they expect, do they believe the president will actually do that after 20 years [of independence]?

There are many who really believe, and I am saluting it myself. Armenia is the only country that has never pardoned a life-sentenced person. This is absurd; we are the first Christian state, and there is no pardon. It seems to me that the president should do it. I have never appealed for pardon and I`m not going to apply, so I can speak freely. I do not accept pardon in my case because I have been convicted wrongfully, for a crime I did not commit, and asking for forgiveness will mean to accept your guilt, I`m not going to do it. But there are really many worthy people here who need to be pardoned, the society really needs them, even as an example to show that, after everything, people still remained good. I also have a request to reporters not to publish unverified information, because imagine the family`s state where hope is born and then it turns out that it was a lie.

Interview conducted by Zhanna Alexanyan

Nubarashen penitentiary

5138
Print
human rights in closed institutions
Life-sentences prisoner: There are many really worthy people here who should be pardoned (video) 28.03.2018 | human rights in closed institutions

Life-sentences prisoner: There are many really worthy people here who should be pardoned (video)

Interview with life-sentenced prisoner Artur Mkrtchyan

Artur, let`s talk about issues related to early release of the prisoners, of which the convicts complain most, and we know that it does not work satisfactorily, e

Life-sentenced prisoners, swallowing tablets, are waiting for Serj Sargsyan 11.03.2018 | human rights in closed institutions

Life-sentenced prisoners, swallowing tablets, are waiting for Serj Sargsyan

Life-sentenced prisoners are restless in recent days. In their cells in Armavir, Nubarashen penitentiaries they are in a state of anticipation. Rumors have been spread from the president`s office that president Serj Sargsyan is going to sign a decree on pardoning in the near future, and na

Who fired Artur Osikyan? 29.01.2018 | human rights in closed institutions

Who fired Artur Osikyan?

The firing of Artur Osikyan, the former head of the Penitentiary Department of the Ministry of Justice, was not disclosed to the public at all.   

From the photos on the website of the M

լրագրողներ հանուն մարդու իրավունքների | 530840 ; 093589631 | info@jfhr.am All rights reserved. Users may download and print extracts of content from this website for their own personal and non-commercial use only. Republication or redistribution of JFHR.am content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

This Web site is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) . The contents are the sole responsibility of the Journalists for Human Rights and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.