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Clarification on the statement of a member of the Group of Public Monitors at penitentiary institutions

27/07/2018

Touching upon the rights of women deprived of liberty during a recent press conference, member of the Group of Public Monitors Implementing Supervision over the Criminal-Executive Institutions and Bodies of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia Zaruhi Hovhannisyan said that a mother of 4 minor children was in custody at "Abovyan" Penitentiary Institution when she should not have been detained by Law. The issue of guardianship of her children has not been solved yet. In regard to this issue, we inform that the procedure for public oversight by the Group of Public Monitors at penitentiary institutions is established by Chapter 5 of Order of the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia No KH-66-N of 18 November 2005, according to point 13 whereof, "Oversight shall be conducted by visiting penitentiary institutions and bodies and submitting reports to the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia and to the public based on these visits. Three types of reports shall be submitted – progress, annual and urgent reports, in regard to which the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia shall present its comments." Based on the above mentioned, the information revealed as a result of public oversight by the Group of Public Monitors that are summed up and submitted to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia may also be provided to the public, exclusively after receiving comments on the reports from the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia. However, during a press conference on "The obstacles facing the Group of Public Monitors and the current problems relating to violation of human rights at penitentiary institutions" held on 25 July of this year, member of the Group of Public Monitors Zaruhi Hovhannisyan publicly stated that a mother of 4 minor children is in custody at "Abovyan" Penitentiary Institution when she should not have been detained by law...". By making the above-mentioned statement, member of the Group of Public Monitors Zaruhi Hovhannisyan violated the procedure for public oversight by the Group of Public Monitors. As for the detained person, we inform that the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia is well aware of the problems concerning the mother of 4 minor children held in custody at “Abovyan” Penitentiary Institution, for the solution of which a number of measures have been taken and are being taken. Particularly, on 25 May of this year, the detained woman informed the administration of the Penitentiary Institution that she wanted to place one of the children in an orphanage. Explanatory work has been carried out, as a result of which she refused the idea of sending the child to an orphanage; the woman applied to Yerevan Municipality to help her with the above-mentioned issue. In response to the request of the detained person, the competent body of the Municipality informed that a positive solution would be provided for the issue, if the birth certificate of the child, statement of information on health condition and the legal representative of the child were available. Currently, one of the children is at the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR). As for the issue on the care of the minor children, the latter are under the custody of the actual husband of the detained woman, and one of the children is at the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) till the issue of guardianship is finally solved.

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