The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered Armenian law-enforcement authorities to enable a prominent businessman prosecuted on corruption charges to receive adequate medical care.
Lawyers for the millionaire businessman, Samvel Mayrapetian, seized upon the decision on Friday to again demand that he be allowed to undergo such treatment in Germany.
Mayrapetian was arrested in October on charges of “assisting in bribery” which he strongly denies. He was freed on bail late last month and has remained in hospital since then, reportedly suffering from a life-threatening form of pancreatitis.
Immediately after his release, Mayrapetian asked Armenia’s Special Investigative Service (SIS) for permission to leave for Germany, saying through his lawyers that Armenian hospitals cannot cure his disease. The SIS rejected the request, leading the tycoon to appeal to the ECHR.
The Strasbourg-based court accepted the appeal late on Thursday. It said that the Armenian authorities must allow Mayrapetian to undergo the kind of treatment that is recommended by his doctors. It gave the authorities 15 days to report back to the ECHR on their compliance with its order.
One of Mayrapetian’s lawyers, Karen Batikian, insisted on Friday that his medical condition is effectively treated only at a special clinic located in the German city of Dresden. Batikian said he has therefore again asked the SIS to allow his client’s departure to Germany.
“I insist that Samvel Mayrapetian wants to travel to Germany for solely medical reasons and will return to Armenia and participate in all investigative and judicial proceedings after his treatment is complete,” Batikian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.
The SIS did not immediately react to the ECHR order.
The law-enforcement agency has still not publicized details of the accusations leveled against the tycoon who had greatly benefited from close ties with Armenia’s former governments.
Mayrapetian, 59, one of the country’s leading real estate developers who also owns a national TV channel and a car dealership. His company was involved in a controversial redevelopment of old districts in downtown Yerevan during the 1998-2008 rule of former President Robert Kocharian. Some media outlets for years linked Kocharian’s elder son Sedrak to the Toyota dealership.
Kocharian is currently held in pretrial detention, having been charged in connection with the deadly breakup of post-election opposition protests in March 2008. He denies the accusations as politically motivated.