By Hrach Melkumian
On 30 April the Armenian Prosecutor General's office opened a criminal case against the "Artarutiun" opposition bloc in connection with the mass demonstration in Yerevan on 12-13 April that was violently dispersed by police. The prosecutor's office filed two charges for alleged "Calls for the violent overthrow of the constitutional order" and "insulting a state official."
Some of the opposition activists arrested following the demonstration have been set free; most of the cases have been dropped. Former Defense Minister Vagharshak Harutiunian, a member of the radical opposition party "Hanrapetutiun," has been released from jail, but the criminal charges brought against him have not been dropped yet.
A spokesman for the state prosecutor's office told RFE/RL today that there are no deadlines for bringing criminal charges against opposition members, which means that more charges could still be pending. One prominent opposition member, "Hanrapetutyun" party leader Aram Sarkisian thinks the charges against the opposition will never be dropped.
"They [the prosecutors] know that the opposition will sooner or later become active again and this criminal case will help them to exert pressure on certain people one more time," Sargsian said. He believes that the charges against the opposition could be dropped only if there is a regime change in Armenia or if the opposition ceases to exist.
Former Prime Minister Aram Sargsian affirmed that the opposition will broaden its activities and launch a new campaign to oust the present leadership before autumn. "Everybody understands now that the next president of Armenia will be the one who succeeds in ousting Robert Kocharian," Sargsian told RFE/RL.