Commenting on the trial in the murder of state television head Tigran Naghdalian, “Hayots Ashkhar” says Armenian law-enforcement authorities seem to have solved a major contract killing for the first time. But the paper is unhappy with punishment demanded by prosecutors on Wednesday, saying that it is too soft. “I expected a more objective finale,” Naghdalian’s father Hovannes tells the paper. He accuses prosecutors of tricking him into firing his lawyer Ruben Rshtuni who had been criticizing the way they handled the case. He goes on to warn, “I will shed blood in return for my son’s blood anyway.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” presents a diametrically opposite perspective. “This is a political verdict against the opposition, to whose representative (Armen Sarkisian) they will give the maximum [prison sentence] despite failing to prove his guilt and the minimum to criminals that helped the authorities,” the paper writes. It says the authorities have already used such a “trick” in the criminal case against former Interior Minister Vano Siradeghian.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” also speculates that by demanding only seven years’ imprisonment for defendant Hovannes Harutiunian (who allegedly Naghdalian’s killing) the authorities risk encouraging ringleader Nairi Hunanian to name presumed masterminds of the 1999 parliament bloodbath. The paper reports that the National Assembly approved on Wednesday in the final reading opposition amendments to the criminal code that make Hunanian’s and his accomplices’ future release from prison impossible. But it says the opposition fears that the gunmen will be sentenced before the parliament bill is signed into law by President Kocharian.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” reports that Prime Minister Andranik Markarian promised on Wednesday that those responsible for the serious contamination of drinking water in Yerevan will be punished. “The government as well as the prosecutor’s office are holding an investigation. Once the results are known, the guilty will be held responsible,” he said. Markarian also criticized the opposition for continuing to raise the issue of a referendum of confidence in Kocharian. “The people have already expressed their opinion. The issue…has caused additional tensions after the elections. You can’t hold the same election every year.”
“Ayb-Fe” says government assurances that the ArmenTel operator will not be allowed to drastically raise telephone fees should not be taken seriously. The paper argues that the government similarly opposed the introduction of a per-minute billing system but eventually dropped its objections.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the administration of a village in the northern Lori region has promised to award 100,000 drams ($178) to those local bachelors who will get married with single female teachers living in any other part of the country. The paper explains that the unusual measure is intended for alleviating serious staff shortages in the village school.