Samvel Babayan Stops Hunger Strike

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Former defense minister of Karabakh Samvel Babayan has stopped the hunger strike he had started July 17 as a protest against violation of his rights. Babayan was arrested in the wake of an assassination attempt on Karabakh president Ghoukassian’s life March 22 and accused of plotting to overthrow Ghoukassian and seize power.

Babayan’s counselor Judex Shakarian said his client thought there was no sense to continue the hunger strike because on July 17 not a single representative of the investigative team visited Babayan and none of the deman’s put forward by him were met. Shakarian said he was surprised by this indifferent attitude of the investigation.

Shakarian said Babayan was exhausted. He also noted that no forensic examination has been conducted to reveal whether Babayan’s claims that he had been subjected to physical abuse were true.

Shakarian continued to insist that Babayan’s trial should be given to the Armenian court. He dismissed the Karabakh prosecutor’s statement which said that a group of activists from Armenian human rights organizations had visited Babayan in the confinement cell to see what his physical condition was and that they reported no sign of physical abuse.

Shakarian said that not a single human rights activist has visited his client so far. He said that Babayan is still refused a one-hour walk in the jail’s courtyard.

Under a ruling passed by the city court of Stepanakert–Babayan’s sister–Anush–has been evicted from her flat along with her family–Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of the Constitutional Right Union Armen Javadian told a Noyan Tapan reporter. He also added that by issuing the ruling–the court in fact sustained a claim of a citizen who said he was illegally evicted from his flat ten years ago for Anush Babayan to move in. The court’s ruling also stipulates that Anush Babayan be provided with housing–but she and her family currently have no residence pending the enforcement of this part of the ruling.

Anush Babayan is set to apply to foreign diplomatic missions in Armenia to be granted political asylum. Other relatives of Samvel Babayan are going to follow the example. Samvel Babayan–who is charged with masterminding the attempt on the life of Karabakh’s president–has ended his hunger-strike in custody.

"We qualify the latest step of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic’s judicial power as a new tide of political persecution in the country," Javadian said.

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