Gyumri collects signatures for Ernest Vardanyan's release

15:53 • 04.08.10

Civil activists in the Armenian city of Gyumri have started to collect signatures demanding the release of Ernest Vardanyan - an Armenian  journalist who lives in the breakaway Moldovan region of Transnistria and whose roots go back to Gyumri.

Ernest Vardanyan was arrested on April 7. He is accused of high treason and espionage - something he and his relatives deny, pointing to his professional activities.

He is known for his critical articles of the local authorities.

Mr Vardanyan faces 12-20 years in prison if found guilty.

The court must before August 7 decide whether he should be released or whether his term of arrest prolonged.

Earlier 30 MPs at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe had signed a document where they expressed concern about his arrest.

In an attempted to have attention focused on his arrest, Tamara Shaghoyan, Vardanyan's mother, has sent many letters to the leaders of several world powers, such as Russia, US, France, Germany, Great Britain and Japan - but yet to little avail.

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