“Of course, the document could have been worse,” “Hraparak” writes, commenting on the amnesty bill put forward by President Serzh Sarkisian. “It could have, for instance, applied to everyone except [opposition] politicians. The authority could have once again used its arsenal of force, cynicism and intransigence. But it could also have been more humane and generous … It didn’t do that, leaving itself with a path of retreat.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” publishes the full text of the bill, saying that it has exposed false amnesty-related information spread by pro-opposition newspapers.
One of those newspapers, “Hayk,” says the amnesty “will not be worth a penny unless it extends to all political prisoners.” “As a result of the amnesty, about 2,000 criminal felons will walk free thanks to the political prisoners, the popular movement and the international community, whereas some of those fighting for Armenia’s democratization will stay in prison,” editorializes the paper. It urges the National Assembly to “do everything” to amend the bill and ensure the release of all political prisoners.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the authorities are intent on stripping the three jailed opposition lawmakers of their mandates while releasing at least some of them. “This is an option that would allow the authorities to achieve their goal: to free the deputies for the sake of the PACE, but they will not have mandates anymore,” says the paper. “Whether or not our forecast is correct will become clear in the next few days.”
“168 Zham” has trouble detecting the logic behind the authorities’ decision to free some prisoners and keep others behind bars. The paper sees a contradiction between this selective approach and the authorities’ pledges to achieve “public consolidation.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” similarly dismisses the amnesty bill as “yet another attempt to let off steam.” “With that step, Serzh Sarkisian is again trying to show what a nice person he is,” says the paper.