Opposition-linked businessman Khachatur Sukiasian is not satisfied with a law-enforcement body’s decision to discontinue his prosecution and wants to be officially declared innocent, his lawyer said on Friday.
Citing a lack of evidence, the Special Investigative Service (SIS) said earlier this week that it has dropped criminal charges that had been leveled against Sukiasian in connection with his alleged role in the 2008 post-election violence in Yerevan.
One of Sukiasian’s attorneys, Ara Zakarian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that his client is unhappy with the official explanation and wants the SIS to declare that he did not commit any crimes. He said he will therefore lodge a relevant complaint to the Office of the Prosecutor-General, to which the SIS is subordinated.
According to Gagik Jahangirian, a former deputy prosecutor-general affiliated with the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), the tycoon will go to court if the prosecutors reject his demand.
Sukiasian strongly backed HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian in the February 2008 presidential election and the ensuing opposition protests quelled by security forces. He was among several Ter-Petrosian associates who fled the country to escape arrest following the unrest.
The tycoon surrendered to the police in September 2009 and was set free three days later despite remaining charged with organizing “mass riots” in Yerevan. He resigned from his parliament seat before being allowed to leave the country
Jahangirian, who was jailed after the election, said the decision to close the criminal case against Sukiasian demonstrates that it was “illegal right from the beginning.”
A copy of the decision handed to Sukiasian’s lawyers is dated October 19, 2010. Vahagn Harutiunian, a senior SIS official who has led the official investigation into the 2008 unrest, could not explain the more than three-month delay in its announcement when contacted by RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.
Harutiunian also dismissed as “absurd” opposition claims that the decision was in fact made this month.