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Press Review


“Zhamanak Yerevan” insists that its editor-in-chief Arman Babajanian was arrested and prosecuted because of his professional activities and not draft evasion, as is claimed by state prosecutors. The paper says Babajanian is facing a prison sentence because he is “not to the regime’s liking.” “He who claims that the case against Babajanian is not political must prove why the authorities’ memory woke up now. Only after the ‘Zhamanak Yerevan’ newspaper began publishing in Yerevan did they remember that the guy dodged military service.” Babajanian would not be in jail if he supported the government, claims the paper.

“The fact is that that daily was outside government control and its editor is behind bars,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “It is obvious that such a thing would not happen if he set up the newspaper with the government’s approval.”

“Aravot” also wonders why the prosecutors brought the charges four years after the editor allegedly forged documents to avoid serving in the Armenian army.

“Hayots Ashkhar” brushes aside such commentaries, arguing that Babajanian backers “are not even trying to deny the accusations made by the prosecutor’s office.” “Common sense suggests that defense lawyers should declare that their client did not commit such a crime and only then say, ‘We are therefore talking about a political prisoner,’” says the paper.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” reveals another high-profile criminal case, saying that the son of Gagik Voskanian, head of the Armenian parliament’s Audit Chamber, was arrested by the National Security Service on fraud charges. Voskanian is a member of former parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian’s Orinats Yerkir party and has often accused various government agencies of financial irregularities. The paper says Orinats Yerkir leaders feel that Vahe Voskanian’s prosecution is directed against their party. It also reports that Gagik Voskanian was seen on Tuesday entering “in great panic” the office of Galust Sahakian, the parliamentary leader of the governing Republican Party (HHK).

“Aravot” reports that Ruben Hayrapetian, a wealthy parliamentarian who heads the Armenian Football Federation, has joined several other influential individuals in becoming a member of the HHK. Hayrapetian is quoted as admitting that he did so because Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian is set to join the HHK and lead it in next year’s parliamentary election.

“Hayots Ashkhar” says the Azerbaijani government is “hiding from its own people” and distorting provisions of the international mediators’ peace proposals that are unfavorable for the Azerbaijani side. Armenia, by contrast, is ready to accept those proposals as a basis for further negotiations, comments the paper.

(Hrach Melkumian)
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