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Russia To Extradite Former Armenian Lawmaker, Official Says


Former Armenian lawmaker Levon Sargsian (file photo)

Prosecutors in Russia have agreed to meet the request of their Armenian counterparts to extradite a former lawmaker, who is wanted on charges of banditry and participation in a criminal association in Armenia, according to the Armenian prosecutor-general’s adviser.

Gor Abrahamian said that in this regard the Armenian Prosecutor-General’s Office has instructed the police to organize the transfer of Levon Sargsian to Armenia.

The 52-year-old former parliamentarian, who is also known in Armenia by his nickname “Alraghatsi Lyovik”, was put on the international search list in October 2018. The following month he was found and arrested in the city of Zelenograd, Moscow Region. Armenia petitioned for his extradition.

Sargsian was a member of the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia and served as a lawmaker in 1999-2012. He was under investigation in connection with an alleged 2008 attack on the house of former chief of Armenia’s Customs Service Armen Avetisian.

After the change of government in Armenia in 2018, the National Security Service alleged that Sargsian was the real mastermind behind the attack.

If convicted according to his indictment Sargsian faces up to 10 years in prison.

Earlier this week, Russian law-enforcement agencies released, after a brief arrest, a former senior Armenian investigator wanted in Armenia as part of a probe into a deadly 2008 crackdown on the opposition.

The Armenian General-Prosecutor’s Office said that the Russian side had explained the release of the fugitive former deputy chief of Armenia’s Special Investigation Service (SIS) by the fact that the limitation period for the crime Vahagn Harutiunian allegedly committed has expired according to Russian laws.

Harutiunian, 47, resigned from his post and left for Russia, ostensibly for medical treatment, in July 2018, three months after Armenia’s “Velvet Revolution.”

He was first accused of forging factual evidence to cover up the Armenian army’s alleged involvement in the post-election violence in which eight civilians and two security officers were killed. Later, the SIS also charged him with two counts of abuse of power also stemming from the long-running probe of the 2008 unrest.

Harutiunian rejects all accusations leveled against him as baseless and illegal.

Former Armenian President Robert Kocharian and three retired army generals are currently on trial on charges of “overthrowing [Armenia’s] constitutional order” by illegally using the armed forces against protesters. All four men reject the accusations as politically motivated.

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