The health condition of Armen Ter-Sahakyan, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in the case of former Interior Minister Vano Siradeghyan, has sharply deteriorated these days. He lost his hearing in the left ear, his left side of the body became immobile.

Ter-Sahakyan’s lawyer Edgar Gharibyan informed about this. He visited his client today. “His situation is serious. The left side is completely frozen, he dragges his left leg somehow while walking; the hearing of the left ear is completely lost. It was said that a CT scan should be performed very urgently. There has been no intervention so far. Today we wrote an application for him to be taken for examination in the morning,” said Edgar Gharibyan.

Armen Ter-Sahakyan has been imprisoned since 1998, for about 25 years. His health deteriorated sharply a few days ago, after the prosecutor of the RA Prosecutor’s Office G. Isakhanyan suspended the decision of the Placement Commission of the Ministry of Justice and he was transferred from the semi-open institution of Vardashen penitentiary back to Nubarashen prison cell.

Armen Ter-Sahakyan’s detention regime is being changed for the fifth time. Ter-Sahakyan’s son Abgar Ter-Sahakyan does not know the reason for such cruelty towards the lifer. The prosecutor’s office did not provide any justification for the suspension decision.

“A month ago, the Prosecutor’s Office offered to reconsider the decision to transfer my father to a semi-open regime, but the Commission rejected the prosecutor. Dad was even awarded with encouragement during his month in the half-opened regime, and this decision came as a surprise to us. It is as if Isakhanyan is working in spite of the Ministry of Justice. This is torture against my father. Each time he has big stress after opening and closing again his case. This time he had such a shock that he lost his hearing,” says Abgar Ter-Sahakyan.

Armen Ter-Sahakyan told his relatives that if the suspension decision is not revoked, he will go on a hunger strike again.

And his son proposes to abolish the law on easing the life imprisonment regime altogether.

“If they are going to do this, if the Prosecutor’s Office as a structure is more powerful than the Ministry of Justice, than the Penitentiary Department, the Placement Commission, and it will not allow the lifers to breathe with no explanation at all, let them change this law. We will know that there is no such a law, such a thing, and people will sit quietly in their cells, instead of giving them hope and break their hope in the next minute,” says Abgar Ter-Sahakyan.

We applied to the Prosecutor General’s Office requiring explanation on why it was decided to take Armen Ter-Sahakyan back to a semi-closed institution. We have not received an answer yet from them, but the Ministry of Justice answered us:

“The prosecutor’s office has the right to suspend the decision of the Placement Commission. Accordingly, if they exercise this authority of theirs, the decision to change the regime is suspended. In that case, the Commission must reconsider its decision. Moreover, it can be done many times. The law does not provide any restrictions.”

On April 13, the Administrative Court, chaired by Karen Zarikyan, made a precedent decision that could change the fate of many lifers. Accordingly, the decisions of the Prosecutor’s Office to suspend the regimes of the lifers twice were considered illegal.

When the decision enters into force, the Prosecutor General’s Office will most likely have to abandon the accepted practice of complicating life of lifers.

Syuzan Simonyan


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