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Vanetsian Detained Over Defying Martial Law, His Party Says


Former director of the National Security Service, opposition Homeland party leader Artur Vanetsian (archive photo)

Former director of Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) Artur Vanetsian, who currently leads the opposition Homeland party, has been detained, his party says.

According to Arsen Babayan, a member of the Homeland party council, Vanetsian is suspected of “disobeying the lawful demands of the police, deliberately organizing and holding a rally in violation of the order established by law, as well as for violating the temporary restrictions imposed during martial law.”

No official statement by law-enforcement bodies has yet been made in this regard.

Earlier on Wednesday Vanetsian was summoned for interrogation by the NSS. Later he told reporters that he was interrogated as a witness in a case concerning violations of the rules for publishing or disseminating information during martial law.

The party led by Vanetsian was one of 17 opposition forces that took part in a rally demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian over the statement he signed with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Russia to end the war in Nagorno-Karabakh on terms that are largely viewed by Armenia’s opposition as an act of surrender.

Among the 17 parties supporting the demand are also the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia, the Prosperous Armenia Party and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF, Dashnaktsutyun). Leading members of these parties, including Prosperous Armenia leader Gagik Tsarukian, were also invited to the NSS for questioning on Wednesday.

At a press conference convened after midnight ARF Supreme Body member Artsvik Minasian said that that they “will not only fight for the removal of Nikol Pashinian, but also for the release of numerous political prisoners in Armenia.”

Minasian said that a significant part of the leaders of the movement, as well as other important figures were detained and arrested.

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