Police on Monday confirmed reports of an attack in which a former parliamentary candidate’s aide received gunshot wounds and was later brought to nearby hospital in an unconscious state.
Samvel Petrosian, 50, who had worked for former candidate in Echmiadzin Hakob Hakobian, was reportedly hospitalized with gunshot wounds in the abdomen in the early hours of the morning.
As of Monday evening, the police have established that the wounds were inflicted by 39-year-old Armen Hovsepian. No further details about the identity of the suspect or circumstances of the case are released, as police investigation is continuing.
Hakob Hakobian stood as a candidate for parliament in a single-mandate constituency just south of Yerevan, but was eventually disqualified by court for forging signatures to secure registration with the district election commission. He confirmed to RFE/RL on the phone that Petrosian was one of the most active campaigners at his headquarters. According to him, Petrosian had troubled relations with local police and representatives of the rival candidate’s camp, who, he claimed, several times tried to convince him to stop his activities.
“The investigation is still continuing, and I hate to interfere with it. But if you ask my personal opinion, then I think yes, this attack is linked with the elections, because he [Petrosian] complained to us on many occasions that he had been receiving threats.”
Hakobian fingers at the camp of the rival candidate, retired General Seyran Saroyan, who eventually won the first-past-the-post race after his main rivals dropped out of struggle at the early stage of the campaign. Hakobian, in particular, mentions a person nicknamed Ataman, who is a neighbor of Petrosian and a Saroyan associate. He remembers his former campaigner mentioning several times the name of Ataman and his overt threats during the campaign.
The election campaign in the town of Echmiadzin, where the holy see of the Armenian Apostolic Church is situated, was marred by unprecedented violence, including kidnapping, arson and armed assaults.