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Press Review


“Novoye Vremya” denounces the Monitoring Committee of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) for recommending sanctions against Armenia. The Russian-language paper draws a direct link between the recommendation and turmoil at the ongoing trial of seven prominent opposition figures. It describes the defendants’ behavior as “impudent,” claiming that they are doing everything to disrupt the trial with the PACE’s approval.

“Hraparak” says that although they can not afford to disregard the international community’s position on arrested oppositionists, the Armenian authorities are reluctant to make concessions sought by the West. The paper editorializes that they are ready to “disgrace” Armenia in their drive to avoid any expression of what they see as weakness. “Having stalled for time and thoroughly tortured their political opponents in prison for six months, the authorities will have to take steps,” it says.

Razmik Zohrabian, a parliament deputy from the ruling Republican Party (HHK), tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the Western pressure on Yerevan is part of the United States’ and the European Union’s conspiracy to foment a "color revolution" in Armenia. “They are trying to implement a milder scenario for color revolution,” says Zohrabian. “That is, by using human rights violations as a pretext they want to put pressure on the Armenian authorities with economic and political sanctions.” Zohrabian, who himself was a political prisoner in the 1970s, condemns the behavior of the seven oppositionists standing trial as a “hooligan act.” “Even in Soviet times, when we were tried for obvious political motives, we did not display a disrespectful attitude to the court,” he says.

In an interview with “Zhamanak Yerevan,” Karapet Rubinian, dismisses as “ludicrous” a senior prosecutor’s threats to demand that the high-profile trial continue in the defendants’ absence from the courtroom. “I can make a counter-proposal that the trial continue without prosecutors,” Rubinian says tartly. He says the judge in the case, Mnatsakan Martirosian, will break the law if he meets the demand threatened by the prosecutor.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that prison administrations have been instructed to collect pleas for clemency from as many arrested oppositionists as possible in time for President Serzh Sarkisian’s Thursday meeting with the PACE Monitoring Committee’s visiting rapporteurs. “Thus, the authorities will try to convince the Europeans in that there is no problem of political prisoners because those imprisoned in the March 1 case acknowledge their guilt and ask for amnesty and Serzh Sarkisian has graciously granted them an amnesty,” says the opposition daily.

(Aghasi Yenokian)
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