Opposition lawmaker back home from US prison

April 6 2004


YEREVAN, APRIL 6, ARMENPRESS: An Armenian opposition lawmaker,
Tatul Manaserian from the Ardarutyun (Justice) bloc who had been
detained in the United States in early January on charges of
kidnapping, spoke today to a news conference in Yerevan after he was
acquitted of charges by a US court.
Manaserian was taken into custody at the Washington airport on
January 15, was later transferred to an immigration jail in the U.S.
state of Virginia and from there to California, where his ex-wife and
the 17 year-old son live now.
Manaserian and his ex-wife moved to the U.S. in 1992 before
getting divorced several years later. He returned to Armenia in 1997
with his son aged 13 at the time, allegedly without his mother’s
consent. She took him back to her California home later in 1997.
Manaserian said charges against him were a mistake as immediately
after his detention his ex-wife and the son denied them, asking the
US authorities to release him.
Manaserian complained of local mass media, especially of the
Armenian Service of RFE/RL, which he said broadcast reports that were
in violation of presumption of innocence. He said he would file a
lawsuit against it if it did not apologize.