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.
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.
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.
THE TINY REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA ,DOES NOT NEED UPHEAVALS OR ROUGH DEMLNSTRATIONS,OR EVEN THE COLOURFULL ONES EITHER. WE NEED
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….