On February 23, a Yerevan court refused to release Artur Sargsyan (nicknamed the bringer of bread” for taking food to members of the armed Sasna Dzrer group holed up in a Yerevan police station after seizing it in July) from pretrial detention.
Sargsyan, arrested on February 9, allegedly for not showing up after being summoned to a case hearing, has been on hunger strike for the past two weeks.
Readers will recall that Sargsyan, was arrested last August and released on his own recognizance in December.
Sargsyan’s lawyer Davit Gyurjyan told Hetq that the judge only read out the summary portion of the refusal decision, without substantiating why the court upheld a lower court’s decision to keep his client detained.
“Whatever the substantiation, it doesn’t fall within any bounds of reason given that it’s clear that the method employed is baseless to begin with,” Gyurjyan told Hetq.
The lawyer says he visited Sargsyan at the Convicts’ Hospital and that his client’s health continues to deteriorate.
“During the day, he was vomiting blood several times,” Gyurjyan said, adding that hospital staff have advised Sargsyan to stop his hunger strike, but that he doesn’t want to hear any talk on the matter.
Sargsyan has been charged with hostage taking and arms possession.
Sargsyan has been diagnosed with Ankylosing spondylitis (Bechterew's disease) a chronic rheumatic disorder that particularly affects the spine. It is believed he contracted the disease during his military service.
During the 1990s Artsakh War, Sargsyan was wounded while ferrying provisions to Armenian soldiers.