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YEREVAN. – Sasna Tsrer armed group members Pavel Manukyan and Armen Bilyan on Wednesday announced in court—in Armenia’s capital city of Yerevan—about starting a hunger strike.

“Particularly in connection with my precautionary measure [of custody], today I declare in court [that] I’m going on hunger strike as a means of fighting,” Manukyan stated, above all, the Armenian News-NEWS.am reporter informed from the court. “I will [also] refuse all types of medical aid (…). I’m going on hunger strike until the precautionary measure [of custody implemented against me] is commuted.”

Sasna Tsrer member Armen Bilyan said he too joins this hunger strike.

Defendants Pavel Manukyan, Armen Bilyan, and Smbat Barseghyan are still in custody in connection with the criminal case involving the ten-member Sasna Tsrer armed group.

Earlier, the precautionary measure of custody that was implemented for the seven other defendants was commuted, and they were released from custody on the basis of personal pledges by several MPs.

In protest of the then authorities, the Sasna Tsrer armed group had taken over a police patrol regiment building in capital city Yerevan, held hostages, but later had surrendered in July 2016. Three police officers were killed during the two-week standoff.

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