Law-enforcement authorities said on Friday that they are investigating reports that a deputy chief of Yerevan’s police department illegally interfered in a criminal case involving one of his relatives.
Colonel Valeri Osipian has been on the defensive since his 22-year-old nephew Sedrak reportedly stabbed and wounded another young in a dispute that occurred in Yerevan’s Nubarashen suburb on June 1.
A local resident, Smbul Hovannisian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) and other media outlets afterwards that the police officer asked her to have her son confess to the stabbing and thus save Sedrak Osipian from imprisonment. Another Nubarashen woman, Susanna Karapetian, claimed to have witnessed the conversation.
Osipian strongly denied the allegations. “I’m a high-ranking officer. I would never allow myself to do such a thing,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service on June 6.
Nevertheless, the Special Investigative Service (SIS), a law-enforcement body subordinate to state prosecutors, decided to launch criminal proceedings against Osipian. This does not mean that he will definitely be charged with obstruction of justice.
Osipian is in charge police units dealing with rallies and other public gatherings held in the Armenian capital. He has been a fixture at just about every major anti-government protest staged in the past several years.