A notoriously violent son of a regional government has been appointed to a senior position in Armenia’s state forestry agency less than two months after being released from custody and avoiding prosecution for a high-profile crime.
Martun Matevosian, the head of the Hayantar agency and a prominent member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) party, confirmed on Thursday that he has appointed the 21-year-old Tigran Khachatrian as his assistant.
“He is a very well-mannered and polite young man, and he does his job diligently,” Matevosian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Khachatrian, whose equally notorious father Suren runs the southeastern Syunik province, was arrested in July on charges of leading a brutal attack on two other men outside his hometown of Goris in May. One of them lost vision in one eye, while the other suffered a broken nose in the incident.
The victims testified that Tigran led and personally participated in the beating. The Armenian police arrested several men in the following weeks. But they freed Tigran and dropped the charges brought against him on October 1.
Tigran Khachatrian already spent three months in pre-trial detention in 2013 after shooting and killing a man outside his father’s Goris villa. He was subsequently cleared of the murder charges and set free. Law-enforcement authorities said the gunshots fired by Khachatrian and one of the Syunik governor’s bodyguards constituted legitimate self-defense.
Suren Khachatrian, who is better known as “Liska,” was sacked in the wake of the 2013 incident. But he was reinstated as governor a year later, sparking renewed allegations by the Armenian opposition and civil society about impunity enjoyed by thuggish government loyalists.
Armenian human rights activists consider Tigran’s release from custody as another proof of that impunity.