“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” sees a “differentiated” government approach to “political prisoners” in Armenia, saying that the authorities are acting more harshly against those individuals who were not in opposition before the 2008 presidential race. The opposition paper says Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian could not forgive them for joining Levon Ter-Petrosian’s movement because and thereby dealing a serious blow to the ruling regime. “The second reason is that the regime rightly considers itself a gang and acts with gang methods,” it claims.
Razmik Zohrabian, a Soviet-era political prisoner who is now a deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), disagrees. Zohrabian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the arrested oppositionists can not be deemed political prisoners because “apart from expressing their political views they took violent, illegal and criminal actions.” “Let us not forget that the radical opposition initiated a coup or a revolution,” he says. “They themselves confirm this fact in their public speeches. And that is a crime against the state’s constitutional order. But I think many of the detainees should not be in prison now because they are much less guilty and more worthy of pardon than the real organizers [of the opposition actions.]”
“Taregir” publishes an interview with one of the detainees, David Matevosian. Matevosian says that unlike three opposition supporters freed last week, he and other oppositionists kept in the Vartashen prison will not admit their guilt and ask President Serzh Sarkisian to pardon them. “In other prisons, where there are many inmates and it is difficult [for jailed oppositionists] to communicate with each other, such a thing may be possible,” he says. “It is obvious that such things exist there. But that is simply impossible here [at Vartashen.]” Matevosian also says that he was always “psychologically prepared” for going to jail as a result of his political activities.
“Yerkir” reports on an opinion poll conducted in Nagorno-Karabakh in connection with the 17th anniversary of a referendum that led to its declaration of independence from Azerbaijan. The paper says the overwhelming majority of some 300 respondents spoke out against the holding of another referendum of self-determination in Karabakh proposed by the international mediators.