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Opposition Party Office ‘Again Intruded’


Armenia -- Documents, letters searched and torn apart by unknown intruders in the opposition Hanrapetutyun party's office, Yerevan, 11Jan2010

Armenia -- Documents, letters searched and torn apart by unknown intruders in the opposition Hanrapetutyun party's office, Yerevan, 11Jan2010

A major Armenian opposition party said on Tuesday that unknown individuals have broken into and messed up its headquarters for a second time in less than a month.


According to Artak Zeynalian, a senior member of the Hanrapetutyun (Republic) party, the intruders entered its second-floor offices in downtown Yerevan from a balcony early on Monday. He said they overturned the office furniture, rummaged through its drawers and tore up some of the documents kept there.

“They were looking for something,” Zeynalian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. He said he immediately informed police about the incident.

“They came, photographed the office and took a report on the crime,” he said. “They tried to take fingerprints but didn’t find any.”

The police chief of Yerevan’s central Kentron district, Ashot Karapetian, said he has formed “a serious operative group” to investigate the incident under a Criminal Code clause dealing with thefts or theft attempts.

“For the police, it’s also a matter of honor to solve this crime and show that this is an ordinary case,” Karapetian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service, ruling out the possibility of political motives behind the reported intrusion.

But Zeynalian, who specializes in legal assistance to opposition activists prosecuted by the authorities, linked it with his “professional activities.” He said the biggest damage was caused to his office room.

The Hanrapetutyun offices were already reportedly intruded in mid-December. Party representatives said the intruders messed up the office furniture and stole a computer monitor and keyboard. Nothing was stolen this time around, according to Zeynalian.

The Kentron police opened a criminal case after the December incident. They have not arrested or charged anyone yet.

Hanrapetutyun is a key member the country’s largest opposition alliance, the Armenian National Congress (HAK). The party’s leader, Aram Sarkisian, served as Armenia’s prime minister in 1999-2000.
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