Former YVU (Yerkrapah Volunteer Union) President Manvel Grigoryan’s health condition does not inspire optimism. His lawyer Arsen Mkrtchyan’s statement of last week that the fact that Grigoryan is still alive is very good news, quite credibly describes his situation.

Unfortunately, in Armenian legal practice, detainees and convicts are rarely sent home because of their health condition incompatible with detention. This usually happens only when doctors no longer give hope that the detainee will live.

The replacement of the detention of the general Manvel Grigoryan with signature not to leave the country

reminds Arthur Sarkissian, “The Bread Bringer”, as people call him, who brought bread to Sasna Tsrer who lived only 10 days after his release; “lifer” Soghomon Kocharyan, who lived only 16 days after his release from the prison; Mher Yeghiazaryan, who was in charge of the HayNews website, who died of a 44-day hunger strike. Former Justice Minister Artak Zeynalyan said on this occasion that a person has the right to die.

The story of Suren Gabrielyan, accused of fraud, money laundering and other crimes in 2014, is less known. He was imprisoned within the case of Ara Kirakosyan, Chairman of the Board of ArmBusinessBank. Kirakosyan was sentenced to 13 years in prison for money laundering, falsifying documents and other crimes.

Gabrielyan’s lawyer, Hakob Tcharoyan, had filed a motion for his client to be released from custody because he had serious illnesses incompatible with detention, including cirrhosis of liver and diabetes.

The motion was denied, and the prisoner sought to escape from the prison to get treatment, as assured his attorney.

In September 2014, Gabrielyan was being treated at the Nork Infectious Diseases Hospital, from where he managed to escape. found out that Gabrielyan had worked out a scheming plan for his release. He offered tan (a yogurt drink) to the policemen watching his hospital ward at 4:00 am: he had put a considerable amount of sleeping pills into the drink in advance. The policemen woke up only at dawn when Suren Gabrielyan had already managed to escape not only from the hospital but also from the country.

He managed to reach the Armenian-Georgian border, from Georgia he travelled to Turkey, then to Russia, and then to Germany. This is a case when a seriously ill inmate did not trust in the compassion of our law enforcement officers and helped himself.

The police announced the escape of the detainee ten days later when they learned that Gabrielyan had managed to leave Armenia and there was no hope of finding him.

In 2016, while in Germany, he even gave an interview to, where he said he would return to Armenia after his treatment to prove his innocence.

“I didn’t run away. I applied the law: by law they had no right to keep a person who had my illnesses. But they were keeping me. And now it turns out that I have escaped, and the law enforcement agencies themselves are innocent?  I’ll go back to Armenia and find out who the fugitive is. I am walking in Germany freely, what international search are they talking about? For international search they need a good basis. What international search without any grounds?” Suren Gabrielyan was asking.

He died in 2016 at a hospital in Switzerland, untreated. In 2018, Gabrielyan’s lawyer, Hakob Zaroyan, petitioned the Prosecutor General’s Office to suspend the criminal investigation of Suren Gabrielyan given the fact of his death.

To date, this motion has not been granted. Law enforcement officials do not believe that Suren Gabrielyan has died.

Syuzan Simonyan

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