Arman Bababjanian Will Not Be Released


18 July, 2008

On July 18 over thirty Armenian citizens crowded near the
Penitentiary Department of the RoA Ministry of Justice with posters,
"Freedom of Speech," "Free Armenia," "Free Political Prisoner Arman
Babajanian." Meanwhile the Interdepartmental Independent Commission
on pre-term release was considering the preterm release of Arman
Babajanian, editor-in-chief of Zhamanak Yerevan daily. The application
on Babajanian’s pre-term release had been submitted to the Commission
by the administration of the penitentiary institution.

The commission features representatives of the President’s Personnel,
Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office, Police, Advocates’ Chamber,
penitentiary institutions and a psychologist.

After the closed sitting member of the Advocates’ Chamber Georgy
Gyulkhanian told "Zharangutiun" MP Zaruhi Postanjian that five out
of the six members had voted against Babajanian’s release.

"Most likely, only the representative of the Ombudsman’s Office
voted for Babajanian’s release as the Office had announced its stance
beforehand," said Zaruhi Postanjian.

"Shame on you!" shouted the protesters the moment the commission
members were leaving the building.

"Is Babajanian a real criminal? There are two criminals in this
country-Serzh Sarkissian and Robert Kocharian. Why don’t you imprison
them?" wondered a woman-protester.

Babajanian’s mother called at that moment to learn the commission’s

"We can appeal the decision at the Constitutional Court and we are
going to," Zaruhi Postanjian tried to console the woman.

Reminder, Arman Babajanian was sentenced to a 3.5 years of
imprisonment. He was charged with an evasion of compulsory military
service. The previous two applications on Babajanian’s pre-term
release were turned down.