(Saturday, May 26)
“168 Zham” notes that Levon Gulian, a 31-year-old resident of Yerevan, was not the first person to die in Armenian police custody. The paper lists concrete examples of similar deaths registered since 1995. Among the apparent victims of police brutality were a resident of the town of Abovian who died in a local police station in 1998. The official explanation for Eduard Vartanian’s death was strikingly identical with what the police said in connection with Gulian’s death. According to it, Vartanian tried to escape through a second-floor window of the police station but slipped and fell to his death. No police officer was ever prosecuted in connection with that incident. In 1999, another young man died of a heart attack two hours after enduring a violent interrogation at the police department of Yerevan’s Arabkir district. “Nobody was held accountable,” writes the paper.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” reports that the Dashnaktsutyun and Prosperous Armenia (BHK) parties will get three and two ministerial portfolios respectively in Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s new cabinet. The paper says Dashnaktsutyun will retain control over the ministries of education, agriculture, and social affairs, while the BHK will appoint the ministers of urban development and health as well as the head of the government department on sport affairs.
According to “Hayk,” the BHK will control the ministries of agriculture and health. The paper finds the choice of ministries very symbolic, pointing out that BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian has for months handed out agricultural aid and provided free medical services to impoverished voters.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Yervand Zakharian will stay on as mayor of Yerevan at least until next year’s presidential election. “Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian have already agreed on this,” says the paper.
“Zhamanak Yerevan,” however, claims the opposite, saying that Zakharian will lose his job despite Kocharian’s earlier assurances that “as long as I am in control you’ll stay on.” The paper says that Zakharian’s dismissal is a “matter of principle” for Sarkisian who is said to deeply dislike the unpopular mayor and to be ready to see him replaced even by the chief of Kocharian’s staff, Armen Gevorgian.
“Aravot,” meanwhile, quotes Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian as denying rumors that he is set to become justice minister. “These are ludicrous rumors,” Hovsepian says, adding that he has “no intention to work in another system.”