Armenian activist deemed 'mentally ill,' then freed
|Publisher||Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty|
|Publication Date||15 May 2009|
|Cite as||Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Armenian activist deemed 'mentally ill,' then freed, 15 May 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4a1d3e0bc.html [accessed 22 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
May 15, 2009
Shant Harutiunian, an Armenian opposition activist arrested last year following deadly postelection clashes with security forces in Yerevan, has been released from prison after being found to be mentally ill.
A Yerevan court on May 13 suspended Harutiunian's trial two months ago and subjected him to a psychiatric examination.
He was transferred to a mental hospital where he spent more than one month.
Armenia's Court of Appeals says that Health Ministry psychiatrists have concluded that Harutiunian was not sane when he delivered speeches to thousands of opposition protesters after the March 1 presidential election, which the opposition says was fraudulent.
Harutiunian told RFE/RL's Armenian Service that he has no mental problems.
Known for his nationalist views, he said Armenian officials "couldn't take me back to court because my trial would have been a greater embarrassment for them."
Harutiunian said he will not "participate in or support the opposition" in the May 31 municipal elections but said he's ready "to take any step, including a revolution, for the sake of my friends who are still in prison."
Scores of opposition activists are still jailed for their actions after last year's election.