Monday, 22 June 2009

Armenia: partial amnesty. Not far enough

Political pisoners Aleksandr Arzumanyan, Myasnik Malkhasyan, Hakob Hakobyan and Suren Sirunyan were released from the court today. This decision was made ahead of upcoming PACE Monitoring committee hearings on Armenia and followed the presidential amnesty which was adopted on 19 June 2009. Unfortunately, it is not clear how (if at all) this amnesty will apply to those opposition activists/supporters who are on the run and in hiding now. Also, it became clear from the terms of declared amnesty that it will not apply to some political prisoners.

It is always welcome to see numbers of those detained on a politically motivated charges reduced. However, I will only truly welcome this news if Armenian authorities free all of them.

I said this again, but will repeat. It's with pain that I apply the term "political prisoners" to some of them, who could easily be charged with the human rights abuses when they were in power. However, today they have been detained/arrested for politically motivated charges, and I should call them as such, regardless my personal attitude. Having even one political prisoner is shameful for Armenia, deplorable and should not be tolerated.

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