A senior Armenian prosecutor has been sacked more than five months after being accused of beating up a man in a street dispute in Yerevan, it was announced on Thursday.
Armenia’s Office of the Prosecutor-General said Mesrop Manrikian was relieved of his duties for “a conduct not befitting an official” late on Wednesday, two days after President Serzh Sarkisian harshly criticized state prosecutors.
Manrikian, who has worked at the prosecutor’s office of the central Kotayk province, was thrust into a scandal in May. Ruben Grdzelian, a 33-year-old Yerevan resident working as a journalist, claimed to have been assaulted by the prosecutor and three other men, including his son, while strolling in the city center with his wife and small children. Grdzelian said Manrikian insulted and punched him after shouting abuse at the children who played in front of a garage belonging to the prosecutor.
Manrikian admitted verbally abusing the children, saying that they were left unattended and risked being run over by his car coming out of the garage. But he insisted that Grdzelian was the first to throw a punch.
Law-enforcement authorities effectively sided with Manrikian, prosecuting his son instead. Grdzelian, who runs the Yerevan bureau of the Russian news agency Regnum, was also charged with hooliganism and put on trial this summer. The journalist was acquitted by a Yerevan court last month.
Sarkisian mentioned the incident on Monday at a meeting with Armenia’s Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian and his senior subordinates, during which he accused prosecutors of serious abuses. Without mentioning Manrikian by name, he spoke of a prosecutor who “picked a fight on the street” and then brought forward a false witness to avoid punishment.
Sona Truzian, a spokeswoman for Hovsepian, insisted that Manrikian was sacked by the chief Armenian prosecutor as a result of an “examination” of the court ruling in the case.