David Harutiunian, head of the Armenian delegation at the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), tells “Zhamanak Yerevan” that the Armenian authorities are considering revising articles of the Criminal Code used in the prosecution of many of the arrested opposition politicians. He says such a revision was recommended by some PACE officials monitoring political developments in Armenia.
Justice Minister Gevorg Danielian briefs “Hayots Ashkhar” on an internal inquiry into allegations that some of the opposition detainees were beaten up in Yerevan’s Nubarashen prison in late December. Danielian denies opposition media claims that those detainees are now scared of being mistreated by fellow inmates. He says that if this was the case they would not protest against being moved to other prison cells. “Of course it is easy and, for some individuals, beneficial to speculate that individuals subjected to brutal beating fear giving truthful testimonies,” adds the minister. “But those making such speculations should take time and trouble to come up with the slightest evidence or at least logical reasoning.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” claims that “deranged” police actions, “disgraceful trials” of oppositionists and ludicrous statements by pro-government politicians have made President Serzh Sarkisian the “main symbol” of the March 1 suppression of opposition protests in Yerevan. “Remember the public mood reigning in Armenia in the immediate aftermath of March 1,” says the opposition daily. “Everyone was convinced that Robert Kocharian is chiefly responsible … for all that. Of course, people continue to think so. But the fact is that Robert Kocharian has been kind of forgotten. After leaving office he tried to say something on television but very quickly realized that he will be right to shut up. And that’s what he did.” Sarkisian, on the other hand, “took over the continuation of the March 1 crime,” concludes “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.”
“Novoye Vremya” reports that Matthew Bryza, the U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, stressed the importance of Nagorno-Karabakh’s participation in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks when he met parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian in Yerevan this week. The paper says this statement must be taken very seriously. “It’s time to understand and get used to the fact that the American diplomat, like his French and Russian counterparts, never says anything out of the blue,” it says. “In this case, the question of Nagorno-Karabakh’s participation is being actively discussed and the mediators are increasingly leaning towards that option.”