(Saturday, August 29)
In an interview with “Aravot”, an opposition member of a disbanded alternative probe into last year’s post-election clashes defies the prospect of being accused of slander for incorporating, in the latest report, the opposition’s claim that bodyguards of several senior state officials and government-connected oligarchs might have had a role in the suppression of the March 1-2, 2008 street riots in Yerevan.
Seda Safarian tells the paper: “Let [the parliamentary ad hoc commission chairman] Samvel Nikoyan does his job… without getting angry instead of others. If they find they should investigate it, let them do so… Let them go to the military unit and check whether there had been an unauthorized issue of military uniforms or not. Let them demand explanations why we were not allowed entry to the premises of the storehouse if this information is untrue.”
Meanwhile, a pro-government member of the disbanded group of experts, assures “Azg” that his former opposition colleagues had even failed to substantiate their claims in connection with the circumstances of captain Hamlet Tadevosian’s death.
Robert Avakian says: “In the preparation of the report on the circumstances of Tadevosian’s death, [opposition group member] Andranik Kocharian was arguing that the officer died from an explosion of his own hand-grenade. But the actual evidence could not have possibly led to that conclusion. He [Kocharian] also rejected my suggestion to turn to the United States ambassador who had before offered to invite an expert to conduct a corresponding examination.”
“Zhamanak” suggests that statements made recently by several senior Republican Party members that [Armenian President] Serzh Sarkisian is unlikely to visit Turkey in October reveal the current ‘sentiments in the corridors of power.’
“Of course, everything will be clear when [head of the Republicans’ parliamentary faction] Galust Sahakian speaks. But even now it is apparent that the Armenian authorities are thinking of shifting into reverse gear [in the dialogue with Turkey].”
“Hayots Ashkhar” accuses the opposition press of launching a campaign of discrediting the National Army. The paper sees several objectives behind this alleged campaign, namely “to question the ability of the army to give confidence to the president in the Karabakh negotiations; to show how ‘humiliating’ the position of Armenia’s political leadership is in the talks; and to allege that the president’s confidence in the army rests only in his ability to use the military against own citizens who oppose his agreements [in the negotiations]…”
“Hraparak” reports that the Special Investigation Service (SIS) recently launched criminal proceedings over the claim of torture used against a former defendant in the October 27, 1999 parliamentary killings case Nairi Badalian, who was subsequently acquitted. According to the paper’s information, the SIS has even brought a charge against two former deputy heads of the Nubarashen prison, colonels Manuk Mikaelian and Smbat Bulghadarian. And Nairi Badalian, it says, has also filed a civil action against the Republic of Armenia demanding several million dollars in damages.