Opposition Leaders Released after Amnesty Decision

YEREVAN–The two most prominent members of the Armenian opposition in prison—Sasun Mikaelian, a former parliament deputy, and Nikol Pashinian, the editor of the “Haykakan Zhamanak” daily—were set free on May 27, in accordance with a general amnesty declared by the Armenian authorities, reported RFE/RL.

The two men played a major role in the March 1, 2008 post-election demonstrations in Yerevan, which were forcibly broken by security forces and left 10 people dead.

Like many other associates of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian, both men went into hiding following the crackdown. Mikaelian was caught and arrested several days later, while Pashinian remained on the run until surrendering to law enforcement bodies in July 2009.

“I will keep fighting,” Mikaelian told journalists outside a prison hospital in Yerevan, where he has spent much of his time since March 2008. “Nothing has changed in my political views and attitudes,” he said.

Pashinian struck an even more defiant note as he emerged from a high-security prison near the northwestern Armenian town of Artik later, chanting “Struggle, struggle to the end,” Ter-Petrosian’s famous political slogan. “I can’t wait to take part in the [HAK’s] May 31 rally,” he told journalists.

The release of Pashinian, Mikaelian, and a handful of other individuals regarded by the HAK as political prisoners has been one of the main opposition preconditions for starting a dialogue with Sarkisian. The authorities are thought to have accepted this demand through the amnesty.

The U.S. State Department welcomed the release of the prisoners. “The United States welcomes the prisoner amnesty granted by Armenian President Sargsian and declared by the Armenian Parliament, and is pleased to see the quick release of those detained in connection with the events of March 1, 2008. The United States is committed to supporting the Government of Armenia in taking steps to strengthen due process, ensure freedom of assembly and expression, and enable Armenia to become an open, democratic, and prosperous society,” read a statement issued by the State Department.


  1. No comments? No question why these people were in jail for three years.Were these people our enemies? Were they criminals like others? Why we did not complain about this injustice? 
    We are all guilty because we give green light to our criminals to do all kind of illegal action. Being opposition is a democratic process which our country is missing. I hope we will not have more political prisoners in our country because we need to respect everybody’s human rights. We need to protect each other not put in jails. We already had enough in our history. Let tolerate and love each other instead stay silent and indifferent. No more dictators and cruel people in our motherland.

  2. Dear  Anna,
    No insult or harm meant.Quite the contrary.While I do respect  your viewpoint.Please  note.-
    There  is  no country in the world without prisons(jails,as you put  them).
    A prisoner  maybe  of any type/kind, whether  a thief, a falsifier, a murderer  etc., etc., etc.,
    Which also include  those  who try to topple a Govt. I agree  there should be tolerance to opposition (s)  not  just  one  that  you hint  at.You wsee Arthur Bagdassarian, the ARF  and others  were also acxting as  öppposition¨to the time´s Govt.(read Kocharian¨s),but  they did  not what  LTP and Co. staged at that Square day in day out ,annoying  the neighbours, leaving all kind  of garbages   there…
    What  is more  they defied  the Govt. by threats  of force…
    Force encourages, incites  force…the kind  of Opposition  that RAFI Hovanissian  staged  just recently speaks  for  itself. The peaceful kind and respectfull.
    So please do not give  lessons  of tolerance to a Govt.  that  took the helms adn this by  the by. Let  it be  know, I agree, …not having garnered enough votes by itself  ,i.e  the party  that  the present Govt.  is sustained  by. However, BOTH THE ARF AND ORINATS  YERKIR  STEPPED  IN AND SAVED THE SITUATION,TO THE CHAGRIN OF LTP AND HIS FOLLOWERS.NOW IF THERE IS  some  sort  of Convergence and compromise,it is welcome.Let  LTP and Co. try to comproimise  with aforementioned  and ALSO Other  political  forces, not  those   2/3  ABOVE  MENTIONED…
    Yousee  if you consider  present  one as  you put  it ¨¨nO MORE DICTATORS¨ THEN THE SAME SHOULD BE APPLIED  TO THE OTHERS  AS WELL.
    E V O L U T I O N ….convergence  and compromise…more  understanding, more  tolerance  of each other´s ideas  and  one  more  thing.
    The tiny Armenia  does  not  need-in my view  so  much  politization.Politifcal talk. We need  Profffessional people to take to centre stage  and enter  into the National Assembly as such.My Scheme has been exposed  here  on the Forum.No one comments  on it whether positively ,negatively or even OUTRIGHT DECLARING  IT  ABSURD.WHICH I WOULD PREFER  RATHER  THAN  KEEPING SILENCE..THIS LATTER BODES  OLD VERY OLD ARMENIAN BAD TRAIT   OF  j….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.