Aram Arakelyan, sentenced to life, spent 30 of his 50 years in prisons: in Nubarashen, Goris, Kosh, Armavir, Sevan

Aram Arakelyan became half a man in the prisons. He lost his health. A year ago, he had an acute ischemic stroke of brain, underwent brain surgeries. Half of his face is motionless, speech is deficient. And with this condition, he has to fight endlessly, write applications and complaints. The end of that writing is not in visible.

According to the RA government’s decision N 825-N adopted in 2006 and amended in 2019, “hemorrhagic, ischemic or mixed acute disorders of cerebral blood circulation” are highlighted in the list of diseases incompatible with detention. Arakelyan repeatedly appealed to the relevant authorities to release him. The only thing that he has achieved is the provision of the second degree of disability.

The convict also applied to soften his detention regime, to move him to a zone lower than the average security zone.

In October of last year, the management of the Sevan penitentiary institution submitted a corresponding petition; however, the Penitentiary Service Placement Commission rejected the petition. The reason for the rejection is, to put it mildly, absurd: it turns out that they don’t want to ease the detention regime of the seriously ill convict because he did not participate in sports events held at the institution from October 28 to November 28, 2022.

Aram Arakelyan appealed to the court the decision of the Placement Commission. The Court of General Jurisdiction of Kotayk district stated in its decision that from October 28 to November 28, Aram Arakelyan had serious health problems, was under the control of a dispensary, underwent a number of examinations, and the conclusion of the Placement Commission cannot be considered real and characterizing the convict’s behavior. The court noted that it does not have the authority to overturn the decision of the Placement Commission and oblige to transfer the convict to a lower security zone, but it determined to oblige the penitentiary service to eliminate the violations it recorded.

The Placement Commission met again, studied the court’s decision, set it aside and, again, decided to reject the convict.

“The Placement Commission has clearly disregarded the court decision. The court clearly states that non-participation in the events and unwillingness to participate in the works cannot be considered as legitimate and necessary justifications for rejection. But they made not participating in the events from October 28 to November 28 and not wanting to participate in the works the basis of their decision and did not transfer the convict,” says Monika Margaryan, lawyer of the “Journalists for Human Rights” organization.

According to the lawyer, the court’s decision was not implemented. “It turns out that the Ministry of Justice clearly despises the court act.”

“Among the violated rights of Aram Arakelyan, the court recorded that his right to be informed was also violated; he was not informed about his health condition on time. The administration also stuck to that one line, eliminated that violation, discussed it again and rejected it again. But it is important that the court recorded that the reasons given by the central apparatus of the Penitentiary Service for rejecting the convict’s application are groundless and insufficient. However, the Placement Commission did not even touch on this,” says one of the lawyers close to the penitentiary system, who does not want to mention his name.

Our interlocutor advised to appeal the new decision of the Placement Commission again. Now the sick, tormented, paralyzed convict is going to appeal the Commission’s decision again and go through a new circle of bureaucratic paperwork hell.

Aram Arakelyan’s mother, Roza Arakelyan, does not understand why her son keeps getting rejections. “There is nothing negative in the papers. On the part of the institution, the head, deputies, socio-psychologists all evaluate him positively. He didn’t do good 30 years ago; for that, he was in prison for 30 years and saw a cruel life. You know what cruel days were in the detention center in the 90s. If it is written in the law that a person has the right to gradually ease the regimes after 20 years, why should an open regime not be released? What is the reason? We do not understand. What kind of chess competitions would he participate in, what kind of physical education would he do in his sick state, with headaches? I bought 30 kilograms of plaster for him so that he could make statues silently in the prison. That is the work of that person, that’s what he can do, that’s what he does. The last word is the judge’s, isn’t it? The judge decides, the Department rejects. Who has seen such a thing?” says the mother as if she were talking about a 10-year-old boy, not a 50-year-old man.

On April 27, Mrs. Rosa will go to the Penitentiary Service for reception, see those who reject her son and understand what they want from her.

Syuzan Simonyan

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