“Hayots Ashkhar” defends the Armenian authorities’ response to the April 13 “terrible” death of a 24-year-old man in police custody. The paper says they are committed to identifying and punishing police officers responsible for Vahan Khalafian’s death.
“Aravot” reports on the decisions by a former leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), Ruben Hakobian, and former Labor Minister Karen Hakobian to join the opposition Zharangutyun party. Stepan Safarian, a leading member of Zharangutyun, tells the paper that they were given no assurances that they will be elected to the party’s leadership at its forthcoming congress in Yerevan. “But nor do we want to rule out any variant,” he adds.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” carries an interview with Souhayr Belhassen, president of the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). Belhassen repeats FIDH calls for the Armenian authorities to free all political prisoners, properly investigate the March 2008 clashes in Yerevan, respect freedom of speech and strengthen the rule of law. “We will stay in touch with the authorities in order to remind them of their obligations,” she says.
Arman Melikian, a former Nagorno-Karabakh foreign minister, tells “Hraparak” that Karabakh’s role in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks has “substantially decreased” since the mid-1990s. “In this regard, I can express my discontent with what has happened because we have not given the right impetus to the negotiations,” he says. “We have not acted with our own negotiating mentality. We have only reacted to others’ proposals in one way or another and those proposals have never addressed all of our interests.”
Hrayr Karapetian, chairman of the Armenian parliament’s committee on defense and security, assures “Zhamanak” that the war for Karabakh is unlikely to resume anytime soon. “The enemy knows well that our army is quite strong and is superior to their armed forces in terms of weaponry and morale,” says Karapetian. “The enemy army lacks the appropriate combat-readiness. It is rife with crime and drug trafficking. Besides, the new generation there [in Azerbaijan] is really conscious of the fact that even if they are sent to war, they will be fighting for an alien land.”