Ministry of Justice: Deputy Ani Samsonyan’s claims do not correspond to reality

06/05/2020 Font

During the hour of announcements in the National Assembly yesterday, Deputy of the “Bright Armenia” faction Ani Samsonyan, touching upon the ban on acceptance of deliverables and granting of visits at penitentiary institutions due to the regime of state of emergency, made, once again, a number of claims that do not correspond to the reality.

By using at least open sources, Mrs. Samsonyan could have refrained from presenting unverified information by taking advantage of the podium of the National Assembly, claiming that the new system for food supply is introduced in only two out of the 12 penitentiary institutions in Armenia, in the case when the function for food supply at already nine penitentiary institutions is outsourced to a private company having been declared as the winner in an open tender, and both the persons kept at penitentiary institutions, their relatives, and the Group of Public Monitors Implementing Supervision over the Criminal-Executive Institutions and Bodies and representatives of non-governmental human rights organisations have spoken up about the high quality and variety of food provided by the private company on many occasions.

As for the assumption that the ban on acceptance of deliverables, parcels and packages at penitentiary institutions due to the state of emergency declared on the ground of the emergency situation is targeted at promoting the trade of stores operating adjacent to the penitentiary institution, this also has nothing to do with the reality.

Banning the deliverables, parcels and packages being brought by the next of kin of the persons deprived of liberty to the institution derives exceptionally from the need to maintain the health of persons deprived of liberty and of their next of kin. It should be taken into account that the problem is not merely in non-acceptance of the deliverables, but also in the fact that the potential cases of penetration of the coronavirus into the penitentiary institutions must maximally be reduced. Expansion of the circle of persons having access to the institution may increase the risk of infection, which is unacceptable for the Ministry. The steps undertaken by the State for ensuring the right to maintenance of health must be overriding, especially when the right to receive deliverables, parcels and packages has been restricted only temporarily, being conditioned by the state of emergency.

In case of making purchases from stores operating adjacent to penitentiary institutions, on a weekly basis, applications are accepted, as a rule, once; if applications are accepted, all sanitary rules are observed, the goods obtained as a result of accepted applications are kept for at least one day, and only then they are transferred to the addressees in order to reduce the likelihood of transmission of the virus to the minimum. In case of next of kin, as mentioned, there are: (1) risks of expansion of the circle of persons entering the penitentiary institution; (2) risks of increase of the number of potential cases of entering the penitentiary institution, taking into account the fact that a person deprived of liberty may receive an unlimited number of deliverables (only in the case of detained persons is there an opportunity to receive up to 70 kg of deliverables).

After all, if acceptance of deliverables is permitted, we should realise that around 2140 persons may visit those institutions (moreover, that is in the case when only 1 person brings deliverables to the institution). Entry of 2140 persons into the institution may objectively lead to the increase of the risk of penetration of the virus, in case of which the consequences will be catastrophic.

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