Armenia’s Justice Minister Vows No Support To Self-Mutilated Inmates



The penitentiary facilities in Armenia will not offer support to the
demands of self-mutilated inmates pursuant to an instruction by the
minister of justice.

Speaking at the National Assembly on Tuesday, Hrant Tovmasyan said that
the practice has centuries’ history, with convicts often resorting
to self-mutilation in an attempt to attract attention and urge the
prison authorities to grant them privileges

“If those demands are met, the inmates in the prisons of Armenia,
but also around the world will become uncontrollable,” he said,
adding that a denial has never led to murders in prisons.

The hearing was organized by the National Assembly’s Standing
Committees on Human Rights, and European Integration.

Several inmates at the Nubarashen Penitentiary sew their mouths shut
on Friday, threatening to mutilate themselves by extracting organs.

In an address to Armenia’s human rights defender, Artak Abrahamyan, one
of inmates, complained about a degrading treatment by a prison employee
and threatened to commit suicide in case the prison authorities fail
to provide any solution to the problem.

Minister Tovmasyan said that a checkup in the prison wards had helped
find and confiscate 2,607 pieces of cutting and piercing tools. He
told the parliament members that not meeting the prisoners’ demands
does not imply indifference at all.

Tovmasyan called for treating the topic with delicacy, considering
the other side of the problem, i.e. “orphaned children, mothers and
relatives of killed prisoners” etc.

“It’s not just 4,000-5,000 people we take care of, but some 3 million,
to prevent this from happening again,” he said.

Four prisoners in Nubarashen had earlier declared a hunger-strike
complaining, about their verdicts and the situation in prison. Their
protest letter with the cut little finger of an inmate was later
published published the website.

From: A. Papazian

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