“Hayots Ashkhar” quotes Deputy Foreign Minister Gegham Gharibjanian as saying that a convoy of two more buses carrying about 90 Armenians crossed the Lebanese-Syrian border on Monday. He says they are due to arrive in Yerevan on Wednesday. “I have just spoken to Armenia’s ambassador to Lebanon, Vahan Ter-Ghevondian,” says Gharibjanian. “He said the situation within the [Armenian] community is stable and the number of people willing to leave for Armenia has decreased substantially.” There are now only 30 Armenian nationals in Lebanon who have expressed a desire to return to Armenia soon, according to Gharibjanian.
“Serzh Sarkisian is preparing a retreat for Robert Kocharian,” writes “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “That is, he will win a majority in parliament, then become president and so on. And if the ideological section of the Republican Party in parliament revolts, Serzh’s wing will very quickly form an alliance with none other than Prosperous Armenia and will still have a majority. And what has the opposition been doing? Nothing much, to be honest.”
Opposition leader Artashes Geghamian, however, speaks in an “Iravunk” interview of an “imminent danger” facing Sarkisian and Kocharian. Gegham points to what he claims are highly unfavorable developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process and the implementation of Azerbaijani oil and gas projects bypassing Armenia. “Let us recall that for eight consecutive years the pro-government media spoke sarcastically about the exploitation of those [pipelines,]” he says, adding that Armenia has seriously lagged behind its neighbor as a result.
“168 Zham” reports that four emen serving a life sentence made an unsuccessful attempt to escape from Yerevan’s Nubarashen prison on July 23. “Mindful of a brutal beating awaiting them, they cut their arm veins,” the paper says. It quotes an unnamed prison official as saying that the prisoners tried to kill themselves after being tortured by security guards. “When they need it, they bring in journalists … and show them prison cells that look like sanatoriums,” the official says. “Let [journalists] have a look at lifers’ cells and see what’s going on there and conditions in which people can be kept.”
“Zhamanak Yerevan” editorializes on the continuing imprisonment of its editor-in-chief Arman Babajanian who is accused of evading military service. The paper again denounces Babajanian’s prosecution as politically motivated, arguing that one of Kocharian’s bodyguards who was convicted of beating to death an innocent man didn’t spend a single day in prison. Incidentally, it says, Babajanian’s upcoming trial will be presided over by the same judge who failed to jail the bodyguard.