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Gyumri Stabbing Suspect Detained


Armenia -- Opposition activist Hrach Mirzoyan seen minutes after being stabbed during a rally in Gyumri, 28Mar2015.

The Armenian police detained on Wednesday a man suspected of stabbing an opposition activist during an anti-government rally held in Gyumri over the weekend.

Hrach Mirzoyan, a member of the Founding Parliament movement, was seriously injured as a group of pro-government youths tried to disrupt the gathering organized as part of the radical opposition group’s declared campaign for regime change in Armenia.

Mirzoyan claimed to have recognized his attacker shortly before undergoing urgent surgery at a Gyumri hospital. Photographs of the suspect, identified as Kamo Khachatrian, were publicized by Armenian media in the following days.

Armenia’s Investigative Committee said Khachatrian turned himself in and is now being interrogated.“The person who was recognized by the victim as the attacker today willingly came to a police station in Gyumri,” Sona Truzian, a spokeswoman for the law-enforcement body handling the case, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

Investigative Committee officers searched Khachatrian’s Gyumri apartment on Tuesday. The suspect was reportedly not at home during the search.

According to Truzian, investigators have yet to level formal accusations against Khachatrian. If charged, he will risk between 3 and 7 years in prison.

The Founding Parliament has blamed the police for the attack, saying that police officers present at its rally could have averted it. Leaders of the group also claim that Khachatrian and other aggressive youths who argued with protesters and threw eggs at them were acting on government orders.

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