While there are few updates related to Armenian POWs being held captive in Baku for over 1,000 days, the Armenian government has quietly filled up its prisons by cracking down on any form of political opposition.
Today, there are more than a dozen political prisoners from opposition parties being held on frivolous charges and accusations, more than the previous two administrations combined. Earlier this year, both Google and Apple issued warnings that the Armenian government is actively using Israeli phone hacking software “Pegasus” to spy on political figures in the country. Main stream media in Armenia has provided little to no coverage of the status and sheer number of political prisoners held by the Armenian government. In addition to the arrests, over a dozen political and community leaders who have been critical of the Armenian government’s inaction related to the humanitarian disaster in Artsakh have been barred from entering the country. Yet, foreign organizations such as FreedomHouse, continue to rate Armenia as “Free.” Today, several individuals, including Mamikon Aslanyan, Suren Manukyan, Mikayel Arzumanyan, Grigory Khachaturov, and Armen Ashotyan, are held as political prisoners in Armenia. It is important to note political prisoners are individuals who have been incarcerated or detained due to their political beliefs, activities, or affiliations rather than any criminal behavior.
They are often held by a government or ruling authority as a means to suppress dissent, opposition, or activism that challenges the established political order. The detention of political prisoners is generally considered a violation of human rights and a breach of principles such as freedom of expression, assembly, and association.