RFE/RL – Ex-President’s Nephew Arrested Again

Ապրիլ 13, 2021

Armenia — Narek Sarkisian is escorted by police officers at Yerevan airport after being extradited from the Czech Republic, December 21, 2019.

A nephew of former President Serzh Sarkisian accused of illegal arms possession and drug trafficking has been arrested again five months after being released on bail.

Narek Sarkisian fled Armenia shortly before his family’s house in Yerevan was searched by the National Security Service (NSS) in July 2018. The NSS claimed that he asked one of his friends to hide his illegally owned guns, cocaine and other drugs in a safer place.

Sarkisian reportedly produced a fake Guatemalan passport when Czech police detained him in Prague in December 2018. He was extradited to Armenia and immediately arrested a year later. The Armenian Court of Appeals agreed to grant him bail last November.

Acting on an appeal lodged by prosecutors, the higher Court of Cassation overturned the ruling and allowed investigators to send Sarkisian back to jail late on Monday. It said that he spent more than a year on the run and could again try to escape prosecution.

One of the suspect’s lawyers, Karen Mezhlumian, criticized the court’s decision as unfair and biased on Tuesday.

Mezhlumian insisted that there are no grounds to hold his client in detention because the latter has not gone into hiding or committed crimes and has attended all sessions of his trial since being set free in November.

Narek Sarkisian has pleaded guilty to the accusations leveled against him.

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