On August 11 the Chief Editor of “Zhamanak-Yerevan” daily Arman Babajanian (sentenced to 3.5 years of imprisonment for document fraud to evade mandatory military service) released a statement announcing a hunger strike that he started to protest his possible transfer from “Hospital for Convicts” penitentiary institution to “Nubarashen” institution. According to information that Arman Babajanian had received, in “Nubarashen” his life and health would be endangered. In his statement Arman Babajanian also reported that as a result of a search in his hospital chamber on August 2 he received a reprimand for storing items of primary necessity, which are not prohibited according the “Zhamanak-Yerevan” Editor. According to the supposition made by “Hayk” daily (of August 7, 2008), the true purpose of the search and the sanction that ensued was the prevention of further requests of Arman Babajanian for an early release, on grounds of his good conduct. As it has been reported, on July 18 the Commission on Early Release and Release on Parole refused the plight for the early release of “Zhamanak-Yerevan” Chief Editor for the third time (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, July 11-18, 2008). The Armenian authorities were urged to release Arman Babajanian early by a number of international human rights and journalistic associations, professional associations, media and NGOs of the country. The addresses noted that the head of “Zhamanak-Yerevan” had already spent two years in incarceration, and the sentence was disproportionate to his offence.
In an interview to “Aravot” daily of August 23, 2008 Arman Babajanian said he was transferred not to “Nubarashen” but to “Erebuni” penitentiary institution instead. Arman Babajanian also noted he had stopped the hunger strike since he had received oral guarantees that his life and health are out of danger.