A few days ago, Justice Minister Rustam Badasyan processed the applications of Babken Ghardyan serving his sentence in “Vardashen” penitentiary and his father, Gagik Ghardyan, as a result of which the convict’s regime has changed to an open one.

70-year-old Gagik Zardyan, a third-degree handicapped living in a nursing home in Yerevan, has asked the Minister to “make the boy move to open air so that he can at least take care of himself, work and start a new life.”

The Minister did not ignore the letter, the head of the penitentiary and his deputy also characterized Babken positively, as a result of which Babken’s semi-open regime of sentencing has been changed to an open regime

“This was a result of a united work. First of all, I thank the Minister for not rejecting my father’s request; some of the Penitentiary staff who helped me in every way possible, and also I thank you and the Reporters for Human Rights NGO for always being with me and publicizing the whole process,” Ghardyan said in his interview with Forrights.

“Perhaps, they knew that the criminal case was forged, so they helped me.”

The next day of being granted the open regime, Babken visited his father, after which he started looking for a job. In the building for open section of the Vardashen penitentiary, Ghardyan has been hired and is currently collecting the necessary paperwork:

“I will do my best not to disappoint anyone and to become a useful person to society,” he says.

A few days ago, Babken applied also for parole. He hopes that the application will be satisfied, as the Probation Service has already given a positive characterization.

It should be reminded that months ago the court ruled to reject Babken Ghardyan’s application for open regime. The court disregarded the fact that positive testimonies were received about the convict from four different penitentiary institutions.

Babken Zardyan has been an officer in the Armenian army, serving in the frontier zone for 7 years. Due to circumstances, as he states, he was convicted falsely and sentenced initially to five years’ imprisonment, then the sentence was toughened and he was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

It should be noted that the open regime means that the convict is allowed to leave the facility between 08:00 AM and 08:00 PM and, after returning, sleeps separately from the other convicts in the shelters outside the detention area.

Roza Vardanyan

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