“Aravot” reports that Prosecutor-General Aram Tamazian has decided to press on with the inquiry into allegations that the late Vazgen Sarkisian personally beat opponents of former president Levon Ter-Petrosian. The paper brands the decision “immoral.”
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” this means that the prosecutors will continue to look for evidence against Sarkisian and some of his close associates. “That is, the prosecutor’s office will seek to prove that Vazgen Sarkisian and others are criminals…It’s obvious that the current authorities have, after all, failed to disguise their dislike of Vazgen Sarkisian.”
“Aravot” carries a HZhK statement reaffirming its opposition to the abolition of the death sentence. The opposition party warns that failure to execute the perpetrators of the 1999 parliament shootings, “will become an obstacle to solving the crime and will give the green light to all those are not averse to any means of seizing or reinforcing power.” The party claims that “the civilized world” is less sensitive to the application of the death penalty after the September 11 terror attacks in the United States.
“Aravot” tries to explain why Prime Minister Andranik Markarian “is threatened with [political] longevity.” Markarian is likely to stay prime minister at least until next year’s presidential elections. His continued tenure is good for both Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian, according to the liberal daily.
Commenting on the same issue, “Haykakan Zhamanak” says Markarian has to limit the rise in the Dashnaktsutyun party’s influence if he is to keep his job. The paper, which has always been highly critical of the nationalist party, alleges that the Dashnaks holding senior government posts are just as corrupt as most other officials. It says the authorities in Aragatsotn province, the governor of which is a leading Dashnaktsutyun member, have embezzled more than $200,000 from the government-funded construction of two apartment buildings.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says the opposition media is right to circulate photographs of expensive houses belonging to senior government officials. They only reinforce ordinary citizens’ belief that there is no rule of law in their country. The officials increasingly exposing their enormous wealth “are now not ashamed of anything,” the pro-presidential paper says in an editorial. “Shamelessness has become a symbol of our time. What was in the past taking place behind the scenes, hidden from the spectators’ eyes, has now shamelessly come to light.” It is the owners of those villas that are discrediting the authorities, not those who print their pictures.
“Azg” believes that Tehran’s calls for the lifting of the visa regime between Iran and Armenia “does not stem from Yerevan’s economic and security interests.” Four out of five cars or trucks crossing the Armenian-Iranian border are from Iran. The ratio of people traveling from either country to the other is almost the same. The Iranian tourists and heavy trucks pay $50 and $200 respectively for a single entry into Armenia, and the Armenian government should not give up that source of revenues, the centrist paper says. It also argues that Iran is a major transit route for international narcotraffickers who would readily use Armenia as a conduit to Europe if the visa regime were to be abolished.