Yesterday, on August 11, Arthur Mkrtchyan, a life prisoner who was serving his sentence in Nubarashen Penitentiary for 24 years, went on an indefinite hunger strike. He was compelled to take this extreme step. His protest is against the arbitrariness of the prosecutor’s office.
In September 2018, the lifer applied to the court with a request to change his regime, the court granted that request, changing his closed regime to semi-closed. During this period, on the initiative of the Minister of Justice Rustam Badasyan, a law was adopted on the gradual change of the regime of lifers. The law is already in force, as a result of which the regime of several dozen lifers has changed from closed to semi-closed, from semi-closed to semi-open, and so on.
However, the prosecutor’s office shows an arbitrary approach to Arthur Mkrtchyan’s case. The prosecutor’s office has twice suspended the decision of the placement commission on changing the regime of the convict.
The peculiarity is that the prosecutor’s office does not substantiate its suspensions, and the law does not limit the possibilities of the prosecutor’s office to suspend. It should be noted that the penitentiary institution positively assesses the behavior of the lifer during his time in prison.
The last suspension of the placement commission was carried out by the prosecutor’s office with active and inhumane actions, when Artur Mkrtchyan was transferred from Nubarashen to Sevan penitentiary institution, and he was there for about a month. The same day, without prior warning, the lifer was brought back to Nubarashen, putting him in a serious psychological condition.
“Imagine how cruel it is to take a man, who has spent 24 years in 4 walls, out of the colony for a month, and then bring him back to that prison․ “This is more terrible than torture,” the lifer wrote in his open letter to the Prime Minister. After announcing a hunger strike, the convict addressed an open letter to the RA Prime Minister. Here is an excerpt from the open letter:
“Dear Mr. Pashinyan, I, Arthur Hambardzum Mkrtchyan , from 10 AM of 11-08-2020, have announced an indefinite hunger strike, as the only option left for me to fight against the torture and assassination attempt against me. “Kill a man’s hope and you will destroy the man․ That is what the prosecutor’s office is doing.
And I humanely ask everyone not to defame this extreme step of mine as an ultimatum or I something else; I am a simple person, and no other choice is left for me to fight against injustice and arbitrariness in our homeland but the hunger strike; thus, I am also supporting Nikol Pashinyan in building a better country, even if at the expense of his health or life. All this will prevent arbitrary approaches to other people too.
Dear Mr. Pashinyan, I believe that you will understand me and this step of mine.”