On October 23, there was a fight and a stabbing in the Armavir penitentiary. Several convicts beat and stabbed Arman B., the “zone watcher” of the detention center, after which he was taken to the hospital. According to our information, shortly he was taken back to the prison.

The name of the stabber is known, a certain Constantin, who, according to unofficial information, was recently transferred from Yerevan Center prison to Armavir prison. There is a hypothesis that the transfer was purposeful, that he was brought to stab Arman B., and that the management of Armavir was against Konstantin’s transfer to the institution.

The transfer of convicts from institution to institution takes place only by the order of the head of the penitentiary service.

The next day, the Ministry of Justice reported that a disciplinary penalty was applied to the head of the Armavir penitentiary institution.

On 07.09.2022, the supervisory department of the Ministry of Justice conducted an official investigation in the Armavir prison. “It has become clear that the head of the Armavir Penitentiary Institution made the decision N on July 21, 2022 to release the detainee R.B, who is kept in the same institution, the head of the institution has made in violation of the requirements set forth in Article 42, therefore, a disciplinary penalty was applied by the order of Grigor Minasyan performing the duties of the Minister of Justice, for the improper performance of official duties,” the Ministry reports.

The head of the “Armavir” prison is former soldier Artak Ghazaryan, who has been in charge of the prison since 2015. He was appointed deputy chief in various penitentiary institutions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on the basis of the principle of rotation once a year, and in 2018 he was appointed chief in Hrazdan and then in Armavir penitentiary.

As a rule, the convicts with whom we interacted positively spoke positevely about Artak Ghazaryan.

We turned to the Penitentiary Service, asking to clarify what incident happened, why Arman B. was beaten and by who.

“On October 23, 2022, in one of the playgrounds of the Armavir penitentiary institution of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Armenia, an argument took place between the detained persons, as a result of which one of the detained persons hit another detained person with a sharp cutting-piercing object and caused physical injuries,” answered Nona Navikyan, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Armenia.

 She also told that a criminal case has been initiated in the Vagharshapat investigative department of the RA Investigative Committee regarding the incident under three articles of the RA Criminal Code: Article 195, Part 1 (Assaulting or committing other violent acts), Article 167, Part 1 (Causing bodily injury or any other harm to health to another, which is not life-threatening) and Article 512 (preparation of objects that pose a threat to life or health by a person kept in a place of detention). This is the second case this month in the Armavir penitentiary, when convicts beat, stab and kill each other.

On October 13, a 50-year-old detained person died here. The Penitentiary Service provided the following official information about the case to Forrights.am:

“On October 13, around 10:20 p.m., a detainee of the Armavir penitentiary of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia the health of A. Y. born in 1974 deteriorated sharply; first aid was provided on the spot and an ambulance was called. A.Y.’s biological death was recorded by the arriving doctors around 11:15 p.m..”

From the official message, it may seem that the cause of A.Y.’s death is a health problem. However, according to the sources of the detention center, the convict was beaten to death; a phenomenon that had disappeared from our prisons for many years.

According to the information received from the penitentiary service, he was charged with the Article 155, Part 2, Clauses 4 and 9 of the RA Criminal Code for the murder of a relative who was in a vulnerable state due to family status or disability.

In fact, the prisons have turned into black triangles, where dark crimes take place every day, with unknown actors, where people can disappear, beaten, killed, stabbed in broad daylight, and the public can only receive fragmentary, almost meaningless information from official channels about these crimes.

We should also recall the stabbing incident of Vahagn Abgaryan two years ago in Nubarashen prison, when people from outside came to the penitentiary, beat the detainee and then stabbed him. It is noteworthy that these cases are not disclosed and the criminals remain unpunished. In this case too, a criminal case was initiated, but it was dismissed very quickly. It is easier to identify these crimes occurring in a closed system, but law enforcement agencies do not go for it, keeping the “honor of the uniform”.

Syuzan Simonyan

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