Manvel Grigorian, a retired Armenian army general arrested in June on a string of criminal charges, was transferred to hospital on Monday just days after appealing to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Grigorian, who reportedly suffers from serious illnesses, was already hospitalized in August to undergo medical tests ordered by an Armenian law-enforcement agency. A district court in Yerevan ordered his release from custody on health grounds in December. Armenia’s Court of Appeals overturned the ruling in January, leading to Grigorian’s renewed arrest.
The once powerful general’s lawyers appealed against that decision, saying that he cannot receive adequate medical care in jail. They also asked the ECHR last week to order Armenian authorities to allow him to receive such treatment in a clinic in France.
The Strasbourg-based court was quick to tell the authorities in Yerevan to submit detailed information about Grigorian’s health condition by April 3. It will rule on the appeal after looking into their response.
One of the defense lawyers, Levon Baghdasarian, suggested that his client’s transfer to a civilian hospital in the Armenian capital was the result of the ECHR’s response to the appeal.
Grigorian, who had served as deputy defense minister from 2000-2008, was first arrested when security forces raided his properties in and around the town of Echmiadzin. They found many weapons, ammunition, medication and field rations for soldiers provided by the Armenian Defense Ministry.
They also discovered canned food and several vehicles donated by Armenians at one of Grigorian’s mansions. An official video of searches conducted there caused widespread shock and indignation in the country.
Grigorian was also charged with tax evasion and extortion last month. The 62-year-old denies all the accusations leveled against him.