Chief Prosecutor Decries Opposition Election ‘Lies’

By Karine Kalantarian

Radio Liberty, Czech Republic
Feb 12 2008

Reports of fraud and other election-related violations coming from
opposition presidential candidates are "infested with lies" some
of which can entail criminal liability, Prosecutor-General Aghvan
Hovsepian said on Tuesday.

"There are too many lies and false reports," complained Hovsepian.

"One gets the impression that people think if they repeat a lie for
many times it will be accepted as a truth."

"There is also a desire to cast shadow on the republic’s
law-enforcement bodies in this way," he said. "I understand that
lies and false reports are ploys necessary for conducting an election
campaign. But one must not link [that] with the work of law-enforcement

Hovsepian threatened to prosecute those who make "overtly slanderous"
claims that are punishable by Armenia’s Criminal Code. He refused
to cite any examples of such claims or other non-existent violations
alleged by candidates and media critical of the government.

But Hovsepian did speak about a violent incident that nearly disrupted
former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s campaign rally in the southern
town of Artashat, repeating the official version of events which
contradicts witness accounts. He insisted in particular that a group of
government loyalists led by a nephew of the Artashat-based Deputy Prime
Minister Hovik Abrahamian did not hurle stones or any other objects
at rally organizers contrary to reports by RFE/RL and other media.

The young man whose father, Henrik "Jonik" Abrahamian is a parliament
deputy, was one of the most active participants of their scuffles
with Ter-Petrosian’s supporters. He was photographed and videotaped
by journalists covering the rally. He can be seen in the footage of
the violence posted on website of A1+, a television station pulled
off the air by the Armenian authorities nearly six years ago.

"The pictures don’t show Jonik Abrahamian throwing stones or hitting
anyone," insisted Hovsepian.

The Artashat incident was condemned by Ter-Petrosian as a government
provocation designed to derail his election campaign. However,
law-enforcement authorities say the opposition candidate himself
provoked it with his derogatory attacks on Hovik Abrahamian.

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