Accessibility links

Armenian Amnesty Would Not Apply To All Jailed Activists

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian

YEREVAN, June 18, 2009 (RFE/RL) -- A bill proposed by President Serzh Sarkisian granting amnesty to opposition activists imprisoned after postelection unrest in Yerevan in March 2008 is not applicable to people who have been sentenced to more than three years in prison.

The bill has been made public after it was approved by a parliamentary committee. The National Assembly is expected to pass the legislation on June 19.

David Harutiunian, chairman of the parliamentary committee on legal affairs, said the amnesty will not apply to parliament deputy Sasun Mikaelian, who faces trial along with fellow lawmakers Miasnik Malkhasian and Hakob Hakobian on charges of organizing "mass disturbances."

The amnesty will reportedly affect about 90 percent of the jailed activists of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian. The amnesty may also not apply to two other prominent opposition figures -- Khachatur Sukiasian and Nikol Pashinian -- who went into hiding after the election.

Stepan Voskerchian, a lawyer for some opposition leaders who are currently on trial, told RFE/RL's Armenian Service after meeting with representatives of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) that "the amnesty should be extended to all political prisoners."

PACE will discuss the situation in Armenia next week. Armenian authorities hope the amnesty will deter PACE from imposing sanctions against Yerevan.