Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

From Strict Conditions of Medium Security to Milder Conditions: Court Decides in Favor of Convict

April 26, 2024

Activities | Legal Support | Legal Support

On February 24, 2021, by the decision of the First Instance Court of General Jurisdiction, G.E. was sentenced to 9 years and 6 months of imprisonment. At the time of the decision, G.E. had already spent 2 years and 12 days in detention during the pre-trial and trial period. Thus, the final sentence was determined as 7 years, 5 months, and 18 days of imprisonment under strict conditions in a medium-security zone. 


According to Part 6 of Article 96 of the Penal Code of the Republic of Armenia, in cases of good behavior and absence of disciplinary violations, after serving no less than one-third of the sentence under strict conditions in a medium-security zone, convicts are transferred to milder conditions within the medium-security zone.


After serving one third of the sentence, G. E submitted a request to the head of the "Nubarashen" penitentiary, asking to meditate his sentence conditions from strict conditions of medium security zone to lenient conditions of the medium security zone.


The request of G. E. was denied on the grounds that the latter was sentenced to prison in February 2021, therefore, the one-third of the sentence expires in 2025. That is, the Nubarashen penitentiary did not count for the 2 years 12 days of the detention  during pre-trial and trial periods. 


HCAV and the office  lawyer Samson Galstanyan have taken on the defense of the rights of G.E. The organization first has sent a letter, and then an appeal, to the "Nubarashen" penitentiary under the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia, both of which were denied.


Then, the organization applied to Yerevan First Instance Court of General Jurisdiction, to defend G.E.'s rights, demanding the annulment of the decision to deny the convict's request and obliging the transfer of the convict from the strict conditions of the medium security zone to the milder conditions of the medium security zone.


After reviewing the submitted application, the court decided to grant it. The court also noted that the period of pre-trial detention cannot be excluded when calculating the terms for both the change of security zone conditions and the early conditional release from the sentence.


Thus, the court has found that the decision made by the penitentiary institution is not legitimate  and the fact of violating the rights of G. E must be abolished.


The court decision was appealed by the participating prosecutor to the criminal court of appeal of the Republic of Armenia, then Court of Cassation, however, the courts left the judicial act in favor of the convict in legal force.


By the decision of the criminal court of the first instance, G.E. was transferred from the strict conditions of the security zone to lenient conditions.


The judicial act rendered regarding G. E. and the court's comments contained therein on the calculation of punishment terms should serve as the basis for establishing uniform practice.

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