Prosecutor Refuses To Drop Criminal Charges Against Opposition

Radio Free Europe, Czech Republic
July 13 2004

Armenian Prosecutor Refuses To Drop Criminal Charges Against

By Hrach Melkumian 14/07/2004 01:46

On 30 April the Armenian Prosecutor General’s office opened a
criminal case against the “Artarutiun” opposition bloc in connection
with the mass demonstration in Yerevan on 12-13 April that was
violently dispersed by police.

The prosecutor’s office filed two charges for alleged “Calls for the
violent overthrow of the constitutional order” and “insulting a state

Some of the opposition activists arrested following the demonstration
have been set free; most of the cases have been dropped. Former
Defense Minister Vagharshak Harutiunian, a member of the radical
opposition party “Hanrapetutiun,” has been released from jail, but
the criminal charges brought against him have not been dropped yet.

A spokesman for the state prosecutor’s office told RFE/RL today that
there are no deadlines for bringing criminal charges against
opposition members, which means that more charges could still be
pending. One prominent opposition member, “Hanrapetutyun” party
leader Aram Sarkisian thinks the charges against the opposition will
never be dropped.

“They [the prosecutors] know that the opposition will sooner or later
become active again and this criminal case will help them to exert
pressure on certain people one more time,” Sargsian said. He believes
that the charges against the opposition could be dropped only if
there is a regime change in Armenia or if the opposition ceases to

Former Prime Minister Aram Sargsian affirmed that the opposition will
broaden its activities and launch a new campaign to oust the present
leadership before autumn. “Everybody understands now that the next
president of Armenia will be the one who succeeds in ousting Robert
Kocharian,” Sargsian told RFE/RL.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress