Yesterday, on March 20, the convicts of the Armavir penitentiary started a hunger strike for indefinite period.

Sources close to the detention center inform about it.

The hunger strikers demand the management of the penitentiary institution to improve the inhumane conditions of their detention.

According to the information we have received, the convicts are not satisfied with the conditions of long-term visits in the Armavir penitentiary.

Another requirement is drinking water. In the 21st century, we have a detention center in Armenia where there is no drinking water. Water comes from the tap, but it is not suitable for drinking. The “residents” of the detention center receive water through handouts. As a result, their relatives are able to transfer less food to them because they bring water instead.

What is the reason that people do not have drinking water? How many people have declared a hunger strike? What is happening in Armavir penitentiary? Penitentiary Service Press Officer Nona Navikyan answered to’s question:

“Regarding drinking water, I would like to inform you that a draft law is currently under discussion. According to the regulation proposed by the draft, the convicts (accused) will be given the opportunity to receive up to 20 liters of factory bottled drinking water, household items, including a refrigerator, TV, as well as bedding, in addition to the weekly weight set for the delivery or parcel. I would also like to inform you that long meetings are organized according to the law, in a normal course and under proper conditions. As of now, there are two detainees in the Armavir penitentiary institution who have declared a hunger strike, the reason being that they do not agree with the charges brought against them,” reported the press officer, without mentioning names. He also reported that the new bill was submitted for public discussion on the website. “The existing changes are aimed at improving the situation,” says Navikyan.

In fact, the officials are developing a law on water, but they are not able to provide normal water supply in the detention center.

Back in 2021, the group of observers monitoring the detention facilities recorded that the Armavir penitentiary is not provided with constant water supply, which is problematic from the point of view of the healthcare of incarcerated persons. The observers also appealed to the RA Ministry of Justice, which clarified that due to the drop in drinking water pressure, it is not possible to provide constant water supply in all buildings of the institution at the same time. The ministry promised to take measures. Two years have passed, nothing has been done. It is not water that flows from the tap, but some liquid that is dangerous for health.

Our sources in the penitentiary assure that the root cause of the extreme protest actions of the convicts is the negative attitude towards the head of the detention center. “The problem is the strained relations between the chief and subordinates. The head cannot get along with the workers,” said a person familiar with the affairs of the Armavir penitentiary.

Laert Grigoryan, head of the Armavir Penitentiary, is a former police officer who worked in the police system from the first day of his career until 2017. He was appointed head of penitentiary several months ago, in November of last year.

Syuzan Simonyan

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