Nerses Poghosyan, one of the defendants in the ongoing Jirayr Sefilyan trial in Yerevan, has been on hunger strike for 22 days.
At today’s trial session, he told the court he wasn’t feeling well, and his attorney Arayik Papikyan asked for a postponement. Judge Tatevik Grigoryan refused, saying that all the defendants are examined beforehand and the court is notified if anything’s wrong.
Poghosyan repeated that he was feeling sick. An ambulance arrived but the defendant refused medical help.
Papikyan and another attorney, Nina Karapetyan, exited the courtroom in protest.
Karapetyan told Hetq that she had no other option than to leave the courtroom because she couldn’t be present when a citizen of Armenia, was being tormented.
The two attorneys were then reprimanded by the court.
Papikyan said he went to visit Poghosyan yesterday at the Nubarashen Penitentiary and was told that it would be preferable that he didn’t see his client for security reasons. Papikyan was told that Poghosyan was alright.
Papikyan later learned that prison authorities had allegedly found a banned item in Poghosyan’s cell. The attorney returned to Nubarashen Penitentiary early this morning, before the trial, and was told that an inmate in a neighboring cell had threatened to kill Poghosyan’s family members.
Papikyan believes it’s all a ploy to force his client to stop his hunger strike.
Lia Poghosyan, Nerses’s wife, told Hetq that the government is targeting her husband for being an active citizen and that the threats are part of a pressure campaign against him.
The couple have three young children to take care of, and Lia, an attorney herself, has been working for the past year to make ends meet.
P.S. Jirayr Sefilyan and six others were charged in 2016 with illegal arms purchase and possession and with conspiracy to seize government buildings in Yerevan.