“Aravot” reports that a 24-year-old man faces up to five years in jail for hurling a plastic bottle at a police officer during the dispersal of the April 12-13 opposition rally in Yerevan. The paper says Edgar Arakelian said in pre-trial testimony that he did that after being hit hard with a riot police shield. “When my teeth broke I felt pain in my mouth and struck,” he said. Arakelian was initially charged with attempting to “overthrow constitutional order” and “seize state power.” The charges were subsequently downgraded to “hooliganism.” Arakelian’s trial will begin on Tuesday.
“Golos Armenii” also comments on the April 12-13, reminding readers of deputy police chief Ararat Mahtesian’s arguments that the demonstration was broken up because it disturbed residents of nearby buildings. The paper finds the explanation pathetic. “There are now dozens of night clubs in central Yerevan whose noise kills residents. But each of those businesses is controlled by senior figures and no official or policeman will ever approach them.” The paper says both the government and the opposition are abusing human rights. Opposition leaders, for instance, are provoking their supporters into clashes with the police to achieve their political goals.
“Let nobody think that people sitting at the Council of Europe see nothing and hear nothing,” parliament speaker tells “Haykakan Zhamanak,” commenting on his visit to Strasbourg. “They receive necessary information from numerous sources and have the sufficient capacity to compile it and draw fair conclusions…They will not leave us alone.” The Council of Europe will soon become more “active” in Armenia and the South Caucasus as a whole, Baghdasarian says.
“Hayots Ashkhar” speculates that the latest critical assessment by the U.S. State Department of the human rights situations in Armenia and Azerbaijan heralds an even deeper U.S. involvement in the region. The paper says both countries will face equally strong pressure from Washington. “The real cause of that document is an unhidden U.S. desire to deal with the Karabakh problem in earnest. This is the bottom line of the report.”
“Russia as well as the United States are behaving like God. They help those who can help themselves,” political analyst Aleksandr Iskandarian tells “Aravot.” “If Kocharian is replaced by another individual Armenia’s foreign policy will not change radically as a result. And Russia would have as many possibilities for exerting pressure on that individual as it has now. Therefore, claims that Russia is seriously concerned about events taking place in Armenia are an exaggeration. In reality, Russia is very concerned about other things that are taking place in Armenia. The same is true for the West.”