Thus, “the bread bearer” (“Hats Perogh”) died on Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 15:00 (Yerevan time).
The man had braved police roadblocks on July 26, 2016 to bring supplies to the insurgents (“Sasna Tsrer”) who had stormed and held the headquarters of a police barracks in the Center Yerevan from 17 to 31 July.
Artur Sargsyan decided to remain with the members of the commando until their surrender on 31 July. Imprisoned on that date and then charged in his turn with participation in the armed operation, he was released on 30 December 2016, following an intervention by his lawyers before the European Court of Human Rights. The Court, alarmed by his state of health, had found it incompatible with detention.
But the Armenian judicial authorities again handed Artur Sargsyan to custody on 9 February 2017 for two months under a false pretext. He started a hunger strike on 10 February until he was bailed out on 6 March following a mobilization of all parliamentary political parties, with the notable exception of the Republican Party (presidential majority). The delegation of parliamentarians who had visited the Prosecutor paid for the bail.
This death is the tragic culmination of actions taken by a weak and contested executive power that runs the country in disregard of the opinions, rights and freedoms of its citizens, making it every day poorer economically and weaker politically on the international stage.
The act of “Sasna Tsrer”, although going against the present-day laws, was an expression of the despair of the Armenian population, especially of veterans who fought on the Karabakh front in the 1990s. They wanted their opinions to be heard in the ongoing negotiation process. The population had had an impulse of sympathy for these men. Artur had decided to show his sympathy by an act of bravery. This act turned him into a symbol for the population.
The political and judicial authorities of the Republic of Armenia are directly responsible for the death of Artur Sargsyan. The fragile health of this veteran of the Karabakh war was putting them under an obligation to respect the principles of necessity and precaution before any detention. They have violated these obligations.
The Attorney General and the Minister of Justice must resign.
Beyond the commando members of the “Sasna Tsrer”, whose health of some is somewhat unsteady, there are also some 30 political prisoners arbitrarily detained or sentenced to abusively long prison sentences.
Will the regime continue to put in prison all the voices that rise to stop this organized suicide?
The self-proclaimed representative institutions of the diaspora are also responsible for the death of Artur by their silence. The only worthwhile struggle is to defend and protect the most valuable property of the Armenian Nation: its national home and its inhabitants. The security and future of Armenia and Artsakh will only be possible on this condition.
If these self-proclaimed representatives do not understand it, then they have to leave.
And what about the moral and humanistic bankruptcy of our high religious representatives? Neither the voice of Etchmiadzin nor the voice of Antelias were heard to save Artur Sargsyan from death.
On this day of sadness and deep emotion, we, the signatories of this communiqué, demand for the release of all political prisoners and call on the population not to sell its votes in the forthcoming elections.
Thus, the sacrifice of Artur will not be in vain. It is an appeal to the conscience.
March 17th 2017
Assembly of Armenians in Europe
Armenisch-Akademischer Verein 1860 e.V. (Germany)
Support Committee for Political Prisoners in Armenia (France)
Renaissance Arménienne (France)
Renaissance Arménienne (Belgium)
Groupe des Cent (France)
Coopération Arménie (France)
Azat Dzayn (France)
Nor Zartonk Europe (Turkey)
Policy Forum Armenia (United States)
Social & Cultural Centre “ARMENIA” (Greece)
Justice for Armenia (London, UK)
Armenian Renaissance (New-York/New Jersey)
Geopolitical Club (United States)
Hayduk Association (United States)