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Armenian Government Faces Criticism as First Female Political Prisoner's Health Deteriorates

Updated: Oct 31, 2023


Tatev Virabyan | In Court | Yerevan, 2023
Tatev Virabyan | In Court | Yerevan, 2023

Concerns are mounting over the health of Tatevik Virabyan, the sister of Gevorg Virabyan, who lost his life during the 44-day war. Tatev has been detained since September 24, accused of inciting violence through her Facebook page. She has two underage children and an elderly mother whom she was taking care of. Her arrest has garnered attention as she is considered the first female political prisoner in Armenia.


Armenia Faces Criticism as First Female Political Prisoner's Health Deteriorates

Tatev's defense attorney, Arsen Babayan, recently reported a sharp deterioration in her health. According to Babayan, Tatev fainted twice in prison, with the most recent incident occurring yesterday. Medical intervention stabilized her condition, but concerns persist about her health and the lack of proper medical supervision in prison.


In an interview with The Armenian Report, Babayan said that this is already the second case where her health has deteriorated sharply, leading to fainting. Tatev also fainted on October 14. "Doctors have intervened, the situation has now stabilized, but I cannot say what will happen next. After the first registered case, when we took certain action, we also turned to the HRD. Proper medical supervision is being carried out, but this does not mean that Tatevik Virabyan's health problems are being solved," the attorney told The Armenian Report.

Armenia Faces Criticism as First Female Political Prisoner's Health Deteriorates

Regarding the question of whether there is a need to transfer Tatev from prison to the hospital, Babayan stated that he is not a specialist and cannot assess the situation. He wants to be guided by the assumption that if necessary, she would be transferred from prison. However, the fact that her condition has deteriorated acutely for the second time, resulting in fainting, indicates a need for extended research.


"I can't disclose Tatev's specific illness without her consent, as it's medical data. But I want to add that several MPs have reached out and are ready to provide a guarantee for her freedom," Babayan elaborated to The Armenian Report.


Babayan emphasized that Tatev's health problems are a cause for serious concern, prompting several Members of Parliament to offer guarantees for her freedom. Despite their efforts, the Criminal Court of Appeal of Armenia rejected the defense's complaint against Tatev Virabyan's detention on October 19.

Armenia Faces Criticism as First Female Political Prisoner's Health Deteriorates

The situation has raised questions about the treatment of political prisoners in Armenia. Opposition parties have drawn parallels between Tatev's case and the tragic fate of producer Armen Grigoryan, who died in court under contentious circumstances.


Tatev's arrest has sparked controversy, prompting human rights advocates and political figures to call for a thorough investigation into her case. The Armenian government now faces criticism both domestically and internationally, with concerns growing about the well-being and rights of political detainees in the country. As the situation unfolds, activists and legal experts continue to monitor the developments.




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