By Hovannes Shoghikian
President Serzh Sarkisian has appointed a 33-year-old nephew of Justice Minister Gevorg Danielian as Armenia’s deputy prosecutor-general, it emerged on Thursday.
Armen Danielian, a parliament deputy from the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), will take up a position that has been vacant since the politically motivated sacking on February 23 of the controversial Deputy Prosecutor-General Gagik Jahangirian.
A lawyer by training, Danielian has not worked in the Office of the Prosecutor-General or any other law-enforcement agency until now. He was first elected to the National Assembly at the age of 28 in 2003.
Danielian is a senior member of the influential Nig-Aparan organization which is headed by Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian and unites prominent natives of the Aparan region in central Armenia. His uncle is reputed to have close ties with Hovsepian, having served as deputy prosecutor-general before becoming justice minister in June last year.
Jahangirian, Danielian’s predecessor, was sacked and arrested one day after accusing the Armenian authorities of falsifying the February 19 presidential election and describing former President Levon Ter-Petrosian as the rightful winner of the vote. Jahangirian was ambushed and taken away by a special police unit along with his brother Vartan and two other men as they left Yerevan in a car. Police said the four men were armed and planned to “destabilize the situation in the capital.”
Jahangirian was subsequently charged with illegally possessing weapons and resisting law-enforcement officers. He rejects the accusations as baseless and politically motivated.
A court in Yerevan allowed law-enforcement authorities on April 24 to keep Jahangirian in pre-trial detention for two more months. The ex-prosecutor’s lawyers appealed against what they see as an illegal decision. However, Armenia’s Court of Appeals upheld the ruling on Thursday. As the panel of three judges considered the appeal several dozen opposition supporters demonstrated outside the court building, chanting “Freedom!” and “Jahangirian!”
(National Assembly photo: Armen Danielian.)