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Zaruhi Mejlumyan

Relatives of Those Serving Life Highly Doubt Their Petition Will Ever Reach Justice Minister

Relatives of prisoners serving life sentences in Armenia welcomed the news of today’s release of Soghomon Kocharyan, but they noted the court verdict was late in coming.

They said that they didn’t want their loved ones to fall ill behind bars before being released.

The relatives marched to the Kentron and Nork-Marash Court, where the verdict to release Kocharyan was announced, from the Government Building in Yerevan.

They have signed on to a ten point petition addressed to President Serzh Sargsyan. A signature drive to get people to sign on has begun.

The mother of Artur Kocharyan, a former soldier serving a life sentence, told Hetq that she and others have petitioned a number of government agencies and organized signature drives, all to no avail.

The group did not get the chance to meet with Armenian Justice Minister Arpineh Hovhannisyan while waiting outside the Government Building.  Instead, they walked to the Presidential Palace on Baghramyan Avenue to see if an earlier petition had been answered.

They were told that since it had been addressed to the justice minister they would have to wait one month.

The relatives told Hetq that they were highly suspicious regarding the promise since they have been waiting since 2009 for an answer to a petition, signed by 13,000, that they forwarded to the president’s office.