Presidential spokesman downplays EU concern over arrests in Armenia

Mediamax, Armenia
March 14 2008


Yerevan, 14 March: The law enforcement agencies should be guided by
the provisions of the law in their actions and befree from any
pressure, including external pressure, Armenian president’s press
secretary Viktor Soghomonyan hassaid.

He made the statement when commenting on the statement by the
European Union presidency [as received] that voicesconcern about the
ongoing arrests in Armenia.

"Those who are being arrested are not simply representatives of the
opposition but are individuals accused ofcommitting crimes. There is
not a single European country where being involved in politics is not
an indulgence [asreceived] to exonerate a citizen from responsibility
for law violations," Soghomonyan said.

Touching upon the European bodies’ calls on the Armenian authorities
to take all the necessary steps for easing the tension, he said that
"this is exactly the core of all our actions."

[In a separate report, 0824 gmt 14 Mar 08, Mediamax quoted Heikki
Talvitie, special representative of the OSCEchairman-in-office, as
saying that the Armenian authorities should lift the state of
emergency in the country in therun-up to the inauguration of the new
president and start dialogue with the opposition.]

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