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More Armenian Prisoners Join Hunger Strike

YEREVAN -- Inmates serving life terms in Armenia’s largest prison have launched a hunger strike to demand that their cases be reviewed.

Gor Glechian, a representative of the Justice Ministry department that oversees the prisons, said on December 16 that the number of strikers had reached 35.

Officials said earlier that 28 inmates had launched the hunger strike on December 14.

The inmates at the Nubarashen prison near the capital, Yerevan, have started hunger strikes several times before, most recently in October.

Many of the prisoners claim they were jailed on trumped-up charges.

Robert Revazian, a lawyer working for the Armenian Helsinki Committee, told RFE/RL that at least some of the inmates have good reasons to demand a revision of their cases because they were tried and sentenced in the 1990s when Armenia’s justice system "was still taking shape and the likelihood of mistakes [by judges] was high."

With reporting by Interfax