By Ruzanna Khachatrian
Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian confirmed on Wednesday his intention to seek the Armenian parliament’s green light for the indictment of a controversial lawmaker arrested for an alleged armed assault on a natural gas distribution facility near Yerevan.
A spokeswoman for Hovsepian, Sona Truzian, told RFE/RL that he asked the government to call an emergency session of the National Assembly so that he can formally demand the lifting of Hakob Hakobian’s legal immunity from prosecution.
Ministers will almost certainly grant the request during a weekly cabinet session on Thursday. The parliament may meet to discuss Hakobian’s fate as early as this Friday.
Hakobian was due to released from jail late Wednesday, just before the expiry of a 72-hour legal limit on the detention of parliament deputies not deprived of their immunity. He was arrested on Sunday evening after reportedly ordering a large group of men to attack and beat security guards that refused to allow him to enter the gas facility located in a village just south of Yerevan. Hakobian, who recently joined the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), is said to have visited it to demand explanations for a cutoff in supplies to liquefied gas stations owned by him.
Meanwhile, the HHK, which has the largest faction in the 131-seat parliament, indicated its readiness to allow the prosecutors to press their charges against the 43-year-old parliamentarian. “The investigating body should be enabled to clear up things,” a senior HHK lawmaker, Samvel Nikoyan, told RFE/RL. “We must not act like judges.”
Another top Republican, parliament speaker Tigran Torosian, likewise sought to distance himself from Hakobian. “The Republican Party has nothing to do with this affair,” he told RFE/RL. Asked whether the parliamentarian has admitted to the accusations, Torosian said, “Mr. Hakobian will be set free in a few hours and he himself should comment.”
(Photolur photo: Aghvan Hovsepian.)