Zaruhi Mejlumyan

Special Consideration? Son of Armenian Ambassador Gets Early Jail Release on Hashish Trafficking Conviction

Davit Vardanyan, the son of Armenia’s ambassador to Georgia, who was found guilty this last September of trafficking and procuring hashish, has been granted conditional early release from prison.

When the Syunik Court of Jurisdiction passed its guilty verdict it sentenced Vardanyan to four years behind bars. At the time, he had already spent a year under arrest.

This news has been verified by Gor Ghlechyan, who heads the press division of Armenia’s Department of Corrections.

Davit Vardanyan, the 30 year-old son of Ambassador Yuri Vardanyan, had been found guilty of attempting to smuggle the drug into Armenia at the southern border crossing of Meghri on October 12, 2013.

Vardanyan swallowed seven grams of the drug after wrapping it in rubber thimbles. The rest was concealed in his hand luggage.

When asked why Vardanyan had been released, and what the extenuating circumstances were, Ghlechyan merely responded that the ambassador’s son displayed exemplary behavior while in prison.

However, those serving time in Armenia’s correctional facilities periodically issue complaints that the conditional release program is fraught with problems and remains on paper only.

For example, there is the case of Aram Gatoyan, a convict who has been denied parole on seven separate occasions, who has written to Hetq about his plight. Mr. Gatoyan was married in prison, and has a wife, children, and a sick mother on the outside.

Like Mr. Gatoyan, there are many who are refused parole for incomprehensible reasons.

Others, however, seem to get special consideration.

Of note, is the case of the cousin of Syunik Governor Sourik Khachatryan, who was granted early release from prison after being sentenced in 2004 to twelve years for the brutal stabbing murder of Hovhannes Badalyan.

Mayis, the governor’s cousin, was released in 2011 after serving seven years of his sentence.

Photo: David Vardanyan, Ambassador Yuri Vardanyan