Manvel Grigorian, a retired Armenian army general arrested in June, will go on trial soon on a string of criminal charges denied by him.
A court in Yerevan confirmed this when it again refused to free Grigorian on bail on Monday. The judge who made the decision, Marine Melkonian, argued that the criminal case has already been sent to another judge, who will preside over the trial.
Grigorian’s lawyer, Arsen Mkrtchian, accepted the explanation. “Since the arrest of Manvel Grigorian this is probably Marine Melkonian’s or [another judge] Arsen Nikoghosian’s first substantiated decision conforming to the law,” said Mkrtchian, who has repeatedly submitted such petitions before, citing his client’s poor health.
Grigorian, who reportedly suffers from serious illnesses, was transferred to a civilian hospital in March just days after appealing to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Grigorian, who had served as deputy defense minister from 2000-2008, was 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.
Grigorian was also charged with tax evasion and extortion in February. He denies all the accusations leveled against him.
The 62-year-old will stand trial together with his wife, Nazik Amirian, who is facing some of the charges leveled against him. Unlike her husband, Amirian has not been held in pre-trial detention.
No date of the start of their trial has been announced so far. Judicial authorities have said only that the high-profile case has been assigned to Mnatsakan Martirosian, a veteran judge known for his controversial guilty verdicts against opposition figures arrested by former Armenian authorities.