Last week, when law-enforcement came to arrest him for reportedly defying police and a judge, Gaspari lay down. He lay down in court when he was put into custody and continued to lie down in his prison cell.
His lawyer, Tigran Yegorian, claimed that Gaspari was forced to go through a psychiatric check on February 24 and, earlier, had been beaten by his cellmates. Armenia’s Ombudsman Arman Tatoian has requested a clarification from the Prosecutor’s Office, Hetq.am reported.
Human rights groups and opposition politicians have condemned Gaspari’s arrest as politically motivated. “He was arrested for his political views, civil position and criticism of government bodies, in particular, law enforcement agencies,” said a dozen Armenian human rights organizations in a collective statement.
Armenia routinely denies that it contains any political prisoners.
Justice Minister Arpine Hovannisian, though, admitted to parliament that Gaspari “had problems in his relations with other inmates," ArmeniaNow reported. She said he was first taken to a solitary cell and then an investigator on his case decided to conduct a psychiatric examination. Hovannisian said that Gaspari, who briefly went on a hunger strike, has not reported any health problems, but added that she would look into the torture report.