Thursday, June 12, 2008

House Foreign Affairs Committee hearings on June 18.

There are going to be hearings about the situation at the Caucasus on June 18. This is a perfect time to advance the issue of the political prisoners in Armenia as this question will be raised. If you are a US citizen, please contact your congressman or congresswoman and educate them; it is unacceptable for the US taxpayers to subsidize and prop up a corrupt regime in Armenia that has jailed 160 political prisoners!

We need to urge our representatives to speak up at the June 18 House Foreign Affairs Committee. They will have the opportunity to question State Department officials on U.S. policy regarding Armenia and the surrounding area.

Please write your congresspeople and let them know that the Armenian regime has to honor its people, not just their pockets, if they want US support.

Please use to send this letter. At this point we are focusing on one political prisoner and championing his cause for more impact so that we give a human face to the issue. Ashot Manukyan was detained on March 1 and then severely beaten by the police. It was so bad that they did not allow relatives to see him for a couple of weeks. You can read more about him when you follow the link for

Below is a sample text to send to your senators (in order to educate them about the issue) and congressman. For best impact, do not send it as a mass email to all of them but send a personalized letter to each one of them.
Dear Congressman/Senator ...,

I write to urge you to raise the issue of the political prisoners in Armenia at the upcoming June 18 House Foreign Affairs Committee about the US Policy toward the Caucasus.

We, the American people, cannot continue to subsidize a corrupt oligarchy in Armenia that has murdered 10 and jailed 100s of its democratic, Western-thinking activists in the wake of its Soviet-style 'elections'. Ashot Manukyan from the northern city of Vanadzor is one of those citizens now in jail. Mr. Manukyan has spent his life fighting corruption and human rights violations - he is exactly the type of person the U.S. spends top dollar to see succeed in Armenia. He, among other victims, suffers at the hands of a select few who work to keep the Turkish border closed to maintain their monopolies and who sell the country wholesale to Russia while its citizenry barely survives. All the while mocking US aid.

The Congress and the new ambassador to Armenia must demand more from this Armenian regime. At the least, the United States cannot let ordinary, brave citizens like Ashot Manukyan be abducted, beaten and illegally prosecuted by a government that has heartlessly pillaged its own people. Persons jailed for demanding an honest government must be freed immediately.

Please help restore justice in Armenia.

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