PEN International is deeply concerned by reports that Nikol Pashinyan, jailed opposition politician and editor of the newspaper Haykakan Zhamanak (Armenian Times), was beaten while in prison and placed in solitary detention. PEN calls on the Armenian authorities to fully investigate the assault allegations. Pashinyan is serving a four-year prison term for alleged involvement in violent demonstrations, charges that some believe to be unfounded.

Background Information

According to PEN’s information, Pashinyan, 35, was moved from Kosh Prison to solitary confinement at the strict regime Artik Prison on December 1, 2010, for allegedly breaking unspecified prison rules and for arguing with other inmates. Pashinyan’s lawyer maintains that the move was punishment for a series of editorials that Pashinyan wrote and published from prison, criticizing alleged corruption in the Armenian prison system. According to his lawyer, the prison authorities had repeatedly ordered Pashinyan to stop writing, but he continued.
 
On November 11, 2010, shortly before he was moved to Artik, Pashinyan reported that he had been physically attacked in his cell by two masked men. Prison authorities denied that the attack happened, and said that Pashinyan’s medical exam had not revealed any signs of the alleged beating. According to local press, an independent examination was not conducted.
 
Before Pashinyan was moved to Artik, he was serving a four-year prison term in Kosh Prison for allegedly organizing the mass riots that were sparked by the flawed February 2008 presidential elections.
 
Journalists in Armenia are often at risk of physical attack because of their work. Thorough investigations of these attacks are rare.

Write A Letter

  • Calling on the Armenian authorities to thoroughly investigate the alleged attack on Nikol Pashinyan;
  • Calling on Armenian authorities to protect journalists from physical attack, and to protect their right to free expression as guaranteed under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Armenia is a signatory.

Send Your Letter To

President
His Excellency Serzh Sargsyan
Office of the President
Marshal Bagharmaina St 26
375077 Yerevan
Armenia
Fax: + 374 10 521 581

Minister of Justice
Gevorg Danielyan
Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia
41/a Halabyan street,
Yerevan 0079
Armenia
E-Mail: info@moj.am

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Armenia in your country if possible.armenar