Friday, 06 December

Penitentiary Inmate with Tuberculosis Attempts Suicide

Hamlet Ghazaryan, who was diagnosed with tuberculosis and held at the Hospital for Detainees, attempted to commit suicide two days ago, his relatives informed Hetq earlier today.

They say that the prisoner's nerves are wrought, he's emotionally in bad shape, and he's asking for the medical commission, as he doesn't trust the hospital staff.

"Hamlet was convicted of theft. He's been in different prisons; he has tuberculosis; he hasn't been treated and wants independent physicians to come examine him. The hospital will tell you that Hamlet refuses to undergo tests, but that's a lie. Because he didn't receive a response from any of his various complaints, he stuck needles in him. Doctors removed a few of them, but a few still remain," said Hamlet's relative who called Hetq.

The convict sent appeals to various state agencies, including the Ombudsman's office, which sent members of its rapid response team to listen to Hamlet's complaints.

Armen Grigoryan, head of the Ombudsman's rapid response team, confirmed this fact. "Yes, our employee Martik Martirosyan visited prisoner Hamlet Ghazaryan on Dec. 16, and I personally heard his complaints during my visit to the Hospital for Detainees at the end of December. He said he would kill himself. As in the past, so too yesterday, Hamlet complained of the fact that he was transferred to another penitentiary — because his treatment is considered finished. According to the penitentiary management and medical staff, the prisoner was treated and can be moved to another penitentiary to serve the remainder of his sentence. I think he also needs the help of a psychologist. We appealed to the hospital administration about this; they said that a social psychologist met with him."

Gor Ghlechyan, head of the press service of the Ministry of Justice's Dept. of Corrections, informed Hetq that Hamlet was moved from Hrazdan penitentiary to the Hospital for Detainees on Dec. 21, 2012, because of suspected tuberculosis. He was examined and treated at the hospital for about 10 months, within the scope of a program funded by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). On Dec. 4, 2013, his time in the hospital was concluded, as medical examinations showed that he is healthy. 

"He was kept in the hospital for an additional 2 months [as a precautionary measure]. But Hamlet Ghazaryan's discontent stems from the fact that he doesn't want to be moved from the hospital. He doesn't agree to being transferred to Hrazdan, Vanadzor, or Sevan penitentiaries; he claims he has conflicts in these places from past convictions. He agrees to serving the remainder of his sentence only at Artik penitentiary, to where they are now preparing to move him," said Ghlechyan, adding that in the last year alone, Hamlet sent 56 appeals to different state institutions for the same issue. 

As for the needles in his body, the Dept. of Corrections spokesperson said only 2 needles remain: one is not advised to be removed (it doesn't harm him), while the second the prisoner himself didn't want to be removed.

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