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Press Review


Hovik Abrahamian, the chief of President Serzh Sarkisian’s staff, assures “Aravot” that there are no political prisoners in Armenia. “There was a tragedy [on March 1,]” he says. “There were casualties. There were mass disturbances that were accompanied by looting, arson and other crimes. A large quantity of weapons and ammunition was confiscated from demonstrators. Should those who organized and perpetrated all that be punished or not? An investigation is underway in order to clarify that. It will give answers to all questions. Yes, there must be no political prisoners in Armenia. But there must also be no individuals trying to hide their crimes under the guise of political views.”

“Hayk” notes that most of the police officers who testify in court and claim to have been assaulted by detained oppositionists on March 1 are quite burly and confident. “One may get the impression from their testimonies that demonstrators woke up at dawn and furiously attacked frail, weak and diminutive policemen who happened to go out for a stroll,” says the paper. “Any citizen of Armenia would be at least embarrassed to be protected by such poor policemen.”

“It looks as though the radical opposition has found itself in a situation where it is ready to turn everything into a political show so that the public does not forget about [Levon] Ter-Petrosian and that they are able to present something new to Council of Europe officials,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” “The goal is to politicize everything.”

“The problem is not that there are 10-15,000 people in Armenia for whom the only standard and aim of life is food,” writes “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “The problem is that for the past ten years Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian have picked out and promoted those people one by one. One was put into the National Assembly, another was given a business, a third was made a senior policeman, a fourth turned into a famous intellectual.”

“Aravot” considers unrealistic the opposition Zharangutyun party’s proposal to give the opposition minority in the National Assembly a greater say. The party has proposed that one of the two deputy parliament speakers, chairpersons of four parliament committees, the human rights ombudsman, the prosecutor-general and other top state officials be opposition representatives. The paper says if these proposals were to be accepted by the authorities, “any political force would simply dream about being an opposition minority.”

(Armen Dulian)
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