Member of fact check team at Media Initiatives Center
“The murderer Nairi Hunanyan will be set free in October this year,” said henaran.am, and the same idea was formulated in a different way by analitik.am. The title of blognews.am added that according to the amendment this year, “murderer Mher Yenokyan” will be set free in the same period of time. Bavnews.am wrote that “the Soros foundation finally managed to change the law…”
The source of all these publications was the congratulatory post written by Facebook user Narek Malyan. The occasion of the June 20 post was the RA National Assembly which took place 17 days earlier, where a decision was made regarding making additions and amendments to the RA Penitentiary Code.
Some of the points referred to those who were sentenced to life imprisonment and became a cause for speculations, manipulations and assumptions.
Media.am has separated 3 facts:
1․ It was not made clear from the media headlines that, according to Article 102, paragraph 1 of the Penitentiary Code, life-sentenced prisoners were not to be released rather, allowed to be transferred to an open correctional institution no sooner than 20 years of serving their sentence.
The open correctional facility implies (Article 103) that the convict may move during the evening hours within the limits of the territory of the correctional institution, and during the daytime within the territory of the correctional facility and outside of that territory only with the permission of the head of the correctional facility. The convicts are kept in accordance with the rules of social cohesion and the peculiarities of their detention are defined by the internal regulations of the correctional institutions.
2․ The author of these amendments and additions is the Government of Armenia, the Ministry of Justice, which has developed the package jointly with the HRD staff.
The proposal was discussed on April 5 at the NA Standing Committee on State and Legal Affairs. According to the Deputy Minister of Justice Artak Asatryan, the Committee of the Council of Europe and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture has long voiced the issue of segregation in penitentiary institutions. According to the rapporteur, these changes will expand the possibilities of socialization for the convicts.
The Government of the Republic of Armenia has nothing to do with the Open Society Foundation - Armenia and has not received a grant from the foundation for this legislative amendment, so the idea behind the reprinted post stating that the “Soros Foundation has changed” those laws is simply incomprehensible.
3․ The transfer of life-sentenced prisoners to open correctional institutions is not only conditioned by completing a defined period of punishment but is also important that they exhibit positive behavior.
The media did not address these questions, they simply reprinted a Facebook post.
Media.am has touched upon the state of current journalism, that is, the tradition of reporting any news as quickly as possible. The article says that Facebook does not differentiate repeated content, moreover, it puts a sign of equality between newsletters and social networks. “At this point, the media should provide the time and effort to finding the context to the news, presenting a general picture and finally, offering the most demanding and accurate analysis by not repeating the news that has already been spread across Facebook.”