Artak Ayvazyan, a 43-year-old detainee, has not been able to see his disabled child for about 15 months. The court, presided over by Judge Suren Baghdasaryan, has set a bail of 1.5 million drams (a little over $3,000) for the change of the measure of restraint of the accused for a minor crime. It is a large sum of money for the Ayvazyan family. Artak went on a hunger strike again today, demanding that the trial not be extended for another month.

“All mitigating circumstances are in court, but the court, without taking into account my brother’s social status, sets a whole fortune as a bail. At the moment, it is very, very difficult for us to find that million and a half drams,” Artak’s brother Volodyan alerts Forrights.

Artak has been in prison since March last year, when, after crossing the Georgian border, he was found with stolen phones and arrested on the spot. However, Volodya claims that his brother has nothing to do with the theft.

“There is nothing in the criminal case to prove that he stole those phones. All phones have been returned, they are in court, therefore there are no obligations to the injured party, but the court is trying to harm him. Taking into account that what happened is not a serious crime, they can give a maximum of 3 years in prison. The court also sets bail with a large sum of money, knowing full well that we will not be able to find that much money. My brother will give up hope, he will be imprisoned for what he did not do, will sit for a while, the case will be closed and he will leave” says Volodya indignantly.

The court session was beeing been delayed for pretty long time. The last one took place a few days ago and was postponed for a month. The Ayvazyan family is thinking of using that time and mortgaging the house so that they can pay the bail.

Volodya reminds that months ago, when 20 convicts and detainees of “Vanadzor” penitentiary institution went on a hunger strike, Artak was among them. His brother stopped the hunger strike only 20 days later, when the NA deputy Arman Babajanyan met with him and promised to solve the problem.

Forrights again alerted the deputy about the problem. Babajanyan promised to address the issue again and call us. About half an hour later, the deputy contacted us and informed that the problem had already been solved.

“The family had money to get from another place, which was delayed for months. We contacted the bureau and demanded an urgent action. The next Wednesday, the Ayvazyans can approach the bureau and get a little more than they need, with which they will be able to pay the set bail. I will continue to pursue the case and do my best to help restore justice,” the MP said in a conversation with us.

Forrights will continue to follow the criminal case and will inform about further developments.

At the moment, three convicts and detainees are on hunger strike in “Vanadzor” penitentiary. They are complaining about unfair trials against them.

Roza Vardanyan

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