An Urgent Report to the RA Minister of Justice
We inform you that the Prison Medical Center State Non-Commercial Organization and the RA Penitentiary Service are blatantly and gravely violating detainee Gagik Khachatryan’s constitutional right to health, thus jeopardizing his life and health.
Since it become clear after the May 22, 2020 events that the RA Ministry of Justice promptly reacts to Gagik Khachatryan’s lawyers’ public reports on the unlawful actions against him, we hope that the RA Ministry of Justice will react promptly also in this situation where an RA citizen’s life and health are threatened, and will take immediate action to stop the unlawful actions.
1. According to the medical history provided by the Astghik Medical Center upon Gagik Khachatryan's release from the hospital, he had received comprehensive treatment agreed upon by neurologists, neurosurgeons, trauma specialists, cardiologists, gastroenterologists and urologists, as well as rehabilitative kinesiotherapy and physiotherapy. He had been under constant supervision of those specialists.
According to the same medical history, Gagik Khachatryan is released from the neurology department on the basis of the Prison Medical Center’s director’s letter number E-863 on the appropriate treatment and his reference to a consilium decision of April 8, 2020, to continue the treatment in the aforementioned medical facility, if required. According to a conclusion of the medical consilium, created on the basis of the RA Minister of Health’s Order Number 1206-A of 7 April, 2020 to evaluate Gagik Khachatryan’s health condition, dated on 8 April 2020 and cited in the director’s letter and the medical history, Gagik Khachatryan is diagnosed with a “spinal cavity stenosis on the C5-C6 level, with a surgical intervention (discectomy and endoprosthesis between discs), with a developing cervical radiculopathy, poliradiculopathy confirmed by EOG, with muscular sub-atrophy and a moderate motor function impairment of the lower extremities. Lacunar ischemic changes in multiple areas of the brain.
He also suffers from a pronounced defarthrosis of both knee joints, with a moderate impairment of his ability to stand and walk.”
Based on the above, the consilium had concluded that the patient “requires a neck stenosis surgery. He is recommended to continue the therapy and rehabilitative kinesiotherapy before the surgery.”
The aforementioned medical documents make it clear that Gagik Khachatryan need further treatment, and he was released from the hospital on the basis of the Prison Medical Center’s director’s assurances that he will continue to receive appropriate treatment. However, we must inform you that Gagik Khachatryan has not received any treatment at all for about 6 days, since he was moved from Astghik Medical Center to the Yerevan-Kentron penitentiary, and he has not been monitored by the specialists mentioned in the medical history, since the penitentiary doesn’t have such specialists, and it doesn’t have the ability to provide the aforementioned treatment.
Thus, the Prison Medical Center has failed to provide appropriate treatment for Gagik Khachatryan. Moreover, we are convinced that the RA Penitentiary Service and the Prison Medical Center State Non-Commercial Organization intentionally keep creating such conditions that pose a real threat to Gagik Khachatryan’s life and health, and cause him constant physical pain and psychological suffering, and are humiliating.
In this regard, we would like to point out the following:
2. Chapter 11, Paragraph 101 of the RA Government’s Decision N 825-N on “Approving the Procedures for the Provision of Medical and Medical-Preventive Services to Detainees and Convicts, the Use of Medical Facilities and on Involvement of Medical Staff” says that “any detainee or convict has the right to use the medical services of any doctor in any medical facility of his/her choice, at his/her own expense, in accordance with the provision of this Chapter, regardless of the existence of such services in the independent State Non-Commercial Organization and the penitentiaries.”
We have cited this decision in our letters to the Prison Medical Center State Non-Commercial Organization on 23 May 2020 and have requested the following:
“Immediately transfer Gagik Khachatryan to Astghik Medical Center, so that he can receive the treatment recommended by the consilium, “ and
“Inform us in writing whether the Yerevan-Kentron penitentiary has the conditions and facilities in place for Gagik Khachatryan’s care, exercise, and hygiene, in light of his constant pain, difficulty walking and other problems related to his health condition, as mentioned in his medical documents, i.e. conditions that will prevent his ill treatment and torture, will not cause additional pain and will not be undignified.
If such conditions exists, we would like you to provide detailed information about them.”
These letters have been left unanswered. Gagik Khachatryan has not been transferred for treatment, and no treatment has been provided to him. They have not confirmed that the aforementioned conditions are in place in the penitentiary.
On 27 May, 2020, he was moved to Vardashen penitentiary and is currently in worse conditions, in a room of approximately 4 square meters, with only one bed, a small desk and a toilet seat. The room has no other accommodation for hygiene and care and is not adapted to a person who moves with a walker.
Gagik Khachatryan has been informed that he will be kept in those conditions for about 14 days, with has to do with moving into a new penitentiary and the RA Commandant’s decision for the purpose of preventing the spread of the new coronavirus.
3. Moreover, according to Chapter 1, paragraph 3 of the aforementioned Government Decision N 825-N, “Medical services to detainees and convicts shall be provided by the Prison Medical Center State Non-Commercial Organization, within the scope for which the Organization has received a license, as provided by legislation. Medical services, for which the Organization has no license, shall be provided by the properly licensed medical facilities (civilian medical facilities), in accordance with the RA legislation and these procedures.”
In our letters of 1 February 2020 and 1 April 2020, we had requested the Prison Medical Center State Non-Commercial Organization to provide the following information in writing: “Does the Prison Medical Center” State Non-Commercial Organization have licenses for the relevant medical services, as well as the relevant narrow specialists and capacity? If yes, then please inform us what licenses does the center have, provide us with the information about the narrow specialists (their names and information about their experience).” We have not received any information about this yet. According to our knowledge, the Prison Medical Center State Non-Commercial Organization doesn’t have the relevant licenses or specialists to provide medical services to Gagik Khachatryan.
4. We would like to mention that we have informed the RA Human Rights Defender’s staff about all of the above and have asked them to visit the Vardashen penitentiary urgently, in order to examine the situation and to stop the torture.
The above information and more details have been emailed urgently to the RA Ministry of Justice, the Prison Health Center State Non-Commercial Organization and the RA Penitentiary Service. We expect that RA Ministry of Justice and the other aforementioned agencies will reaffirm that they guarantee every detainee’s, including Gagik Khachatryan’s, right to health, as they have done so publically before, and they will take immediate steps to address the aforementioned problems.