Avetik Ishkhanyan, Chairman at Helsinki Committee of Armenia, Vardan Harutyunyan, Chairman of “Center for Freedom and Rights” NGO, Larisa Alaverdyan, RA first Ombudsman, Human rights defender, Arthur Sakunts, Head of Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office were the speakers of the discussion.
Arthur Sargsyan, known as “bread provider”, died at the intensive care unit on March 17. He had been on a hunger strike for 25 days demanding to change the imposed preventive measure -detention.
Arthur Sargsyan was in custody for several months for bringing food to “Sasna Tzrer” members occupying the SPS regiment during the July events in 2016. According to the requests of MPs, his preventive measure was changed for only 10 days, and he was released.
Avetik Ishkhanyan said that “bread provider” became a symbol for us.
“He was different in terms of the way of thinking in our society, he was an unknown man to the public and became known by this step. The call of his soul prompted him to deliver humanitarian aid during the July days, endangering his life. Such a person and such an act are obscure in our society. I don’t know him but I learned about him by his stepand it is worth of admiration,” Ishkhanyan said.
He said that it served as an example for the society.
“This act was more dangerous for the government than the act of "Sasna Dzrer" because this was just an example that a person can self-sacrifice and risk his life for helping someone. He was arrested then he was later released but then they saw that he could be riskful for the society, as he was giving active interviews, was becoming a symbol,” Ishkhanyan said, adding that the hunger strike was not a desperation step.
Ishkhanyan thinks that Arthur Sargsyan died also because of the hunger strike.
“The investigation will find out that he had an incompatibility with the disease but I only ask not to weep, this was an example for our community that a person can do for a principle and start a hunger strike from humanitarian perspective and be ready not to replace the freedom with pride,” Ishkhanyan said, adding that after some time his statute should be set in Vernissage because he worked there.
Larisa Alaverdyan said we have a new legend.
“He becomes a legend for all of us because the essence of the person was clear. This is a case which should be observed as a victim of ill-treatment, because all that happened is a harsh treatment towards Arthur not only in terms of physical but also a psychological form of pressure. The doctors also did not clarify the real situation, the danger that threatened his life. Death occurred in freedom or in custody does not matter, we consider it a process taking place one after another as a result of which death occurred,” Alaverdyan said.
She emphasized that according to the civil legislation compensation should be made in the case when death occurs as a result of ill-treatment.
“If we look at the Criminal Code, Article 319 Provision 1, as a conduct of actions by the government, we must ensure that not just a statue of a hero is installed, with which I agree, but this issue needs legal solutions. On the one hand there should be a compensation, on the other hand, those who are responsible must be punished,” Alaverdyan said.
Vardan Harutyunyan said that Arthur Sargsyan did not die but he was killed.
“He became the next victim of this government, he is also one of the March-1 victims who died as a result of the political processes. Regardless of the government's policy, which makes some part of the society leave the state, Athur’s activity and the youth activism at all big and small demonstrations, indicates that there will always be people who for the sake of their dignity are ready to go to the square, go to jail, go on hunger strike,” Harutyunyan said.
Arthur Sakunts raised a question who is responsible for all these, and answering his question at the same time said that the Armenian Government first is to blame as it leaves no space for changes.
“Basically the system is not inclined to make any changes and punishes those who opposes him. In fact this is the message of which the government of Armenia is very much afraid. I consider this a murder, for which Serzh Sargsyan personally is liable, being the bearer of political power,” Sakunts said.
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Lilit Arakelyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”
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