Yesterday, Zhanna Aleksanyan, head of the organization Journalists for the Protection of Human Rights, published on her Facebook page the crimes committed against Andrey Khalilian, a young man of Yezidi nationality, about which the penitentiary service preferred to remain silent. “For 15 days, since May 27, 25-year-old Andrey Khalilian, a convict of Yezidi nationality, has started a hunger strike in Nubarashen Penitentiary,” writes the human rights activist, “after measuring his blood pressure for the last time, the doctor said that if another 5 days pass, you won’t be able to able to survive; you will die. His demand is simple: to change his cell, which they do not do.”

Once, according to Zhanna Aleksanyan, he was taken to a cell where he was beaten, even though he warned that he had problems with that person. The young man informed Nubarashen, the management of the prison, the CCP about the problems, the hunger strike, but there was no response. “He is belittled in Nubarashen and the young man has the impression that there is a discriminatory attitude towards him. The hunger striker was not visited by the Human Rights Defender, nor by the observation group that supervises the prisons,” Zhanna Aleksanyan wrote yesterday.

The convict’s mother, Ruzanna Khalilian, told the details. “It’s been 16 days, my son is on hunger strike. He is a weak boy, if he stays on hunger strike for another 10-15 days, he will die. Last night, my son said, ‘Mom, I am being pressured.’ He used to live alone in his cell. Now they have placed surveillance on my son. He was beaten in January. My son is still in a very bad condition.”

Ruzanna told that with her 7-year-old child, who has a heart disease, she went several times to different heads of the penitentiary service, waited for hours at the reception desks, but no one accepted her.

“My son is a one-parent boy, I am socially insecure, he worked in prison for five years, he was paid very little, but I agreed to that, as long as they let my son live. He has a conflict with the bosses, they put him under surveillance. I am very worried about his condition. If something happens to him, I will kill myself”, complains the Yezidi woman, accusing the management of the penitentiary for discriminating nationally among the convicts.

Today, the penitentiary service responded to Zhanna Aleksanyan’s post, announcing that the convict Khalilian has stopped his hunger strike. “On June 10, Zhanna Aleksanyan, the president of the “Journalists for Human Rights” NGO, posted on her Facebook page about Andrey Khalilian, a convict of the Nubarashen penal institution of the RA Ministry of Internal Affairs. In connection with the above, we inform you that Andrey Khalilian’s life is not in danger; at the moment he is out of hunger strike. The history of the incident regarding A. Khalilian is as follows: A. Khalilian submitted an application in December 2023, asking to be transferred to a specific cell in a specific building, which was granted.

On May 24, 2024 A. Khalilian had an argument with his cellmate about domestic issues, during which he received physical injuries. The materials related to the incident were sent to the investigative department of the Erebuni and Nubarashen administrative districts of Yerevan, where criminal proceedings were initiated.

On May 27 of this year, A. Khalilian submitted an appeal for a hunger strike, saying that he wants to be isolated. He was transferred to a cell intended for people on hunger strike.

On May 30, a search was conducted in the said cell, as a result of which sweets were found in the cell. According to the decision of the head of the foundation, the hunger strike was considered terminated. However, on the same day, May 30, A. Khalilian again declared a hunger strike with the same reason. His request to be kept in solitary confinement was rejected due to the lack of conditions established by law.

Let us add that A. Khalilian was taken to the civil hospital for a general examination on June 10, his health condition was assessed as satisfactory, after which he was returned to the Nubarashen penitentiary.

As a result of regular explanatory work with the convict, on June 11 he gave up his illegal demand and stopped his hunger strike. As before, now there is no danger to A. Khalilyan’s health. Khalilyan was also visited by the HRD office.” From the message released by the Human Rights Council, we learn that Andrey Khalilyan was transferred to another cell.

The answer contains accusations against the convict in the style typical for the penitentiary service. The management of Nubarashen Penitentiary is obliged to create conditions for the convict and place him with a cellmate with whom he has no problems.

We will follow the development of events, the future fate of the convict.

Syuzan SImonyan

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