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Former Oppositionist Wins Lawsuit Against Armenian State


Armenia - Opposition lawmaker Alexander Arzumanian speaks at a parliament session in Yerevan, 26Oct2016.

Alexander Arzumanian, a former opposition politician currently serving as Armenia’s ambassador to Denmark, won on Thursday a court case against the Armenian authorities that stems from his controversial arrest in 2007.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered the authorities to pay Arzumanian 2,500 euros ($3,000) in damages. It ruled that his four-month detention violated articles of a European convention relating to criminal suspects’ right to get a trial within a “reasonable” time and be released from custody pending trial.

Arzumanian, who served as Armenia’s foreign minister from 1996-1998, declined to comment on the ruling.

Aruzmanian, 58, was arrested in May 2007 on charges of being illegally financed from abroad. He consistently denied the accusations as politically motivated before being set free four months later. The high-profile case was linked by many observers with an anti-government movement which Arzumanian and several other politicians opposed to then President Robert Kocharian set up in 2006.

Arzumanian went on to play a major role in former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s failed bid to return to power through a disputed presidential election held in February 2008. He was among prominent opposition figures arrested in the wake of the vote. Arzumanian spent more than a year in prison.

The prominent oppositionist subsequently fell out with Ter-Petrosian and teamed up with other opposition groups challenging President Serzh Sarkisian. He held a seat in the Armenian parliament from 2012-2017.

Arzumanian was most recently affiliated with the Armenian Pan-National Movement, a small opposition party. He quit the party in February 2017. Sarkisian appointed him as ambassador to Denmark five months later.

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