A man allegedly linked to a pro-government lawmaker was detained on Thursday on suspicion of stabbing and seriously wounding an activist of Gagik Tsarukian’s electoral alliance in Armenia’s Ararat province.
Relatives of the 23-year-old victim, Abraham Adamian, and a senior member of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) led by Tsarukian insisted that the attack, which occurred in the local village of Sayat-Nova on Wednesday, is connected with the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Adamian underwent surgery at the Erebuni Medical Center in Yerevan shortly after the incident. The hospital director, Mikael Melkumian, described his condition as “good” the following day.
The Armenian police said another village resident, identified as A.H., surrendered to law-enforcement officials and admitted stabbing Adamian “as a consequence of interpersonal relations.” A police statement implicitly denied political motives behind the incident, saying that it has been “blown out of proportion by mass media.”
Adamian’s relatives and the village mayor affiliated with the BHK attributed the violence to his active participation in Tsarukian’s election campaign, however.
“I think the elections are the reason for what happened,” Adamian’s wife, Gayane Grigorian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). She said her husband was confronted by a large group of other men outside their house the day before the stabbing.
Naira Zohrabian, the BHK’s parliamentary leader, went further, pointing the finger at Murad Muradian, a parliament deputy from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) who is running for reelection in an Ararat constituency.
“The incident was provoked by HHK deputy Murad Muradian and his teammates,” charged Zohrabian.
The HHK spokesman, Eduard Sharmazanov, dismissed the allegation, saying that only law-enforcement bodies can determine who was behind the attack. “There is a presumption of innocence,” he told reporters.
According to Sharmazanov, Muradian strongly denies any involvement.
The stabbing occurred five days after one man was beaten up by several others in the nearby town of Masis as a result of a bitter election-related dispute between Muradian and another HHK election candidate, Arayik Grigorian. The victim managed Grigorian’s election campaign.
President Serzh Sarkisian called an emergency meeting of the HHK leadership at the weekend, reportedly berating the two candidates and warning others against resorting to violence during the parliamentary race.