The Investigative Committee asked an Armenian court to remand Manvel Paramazian in pre-trial custody after charging him with kidnapping and violent assault.
Paramazian has run Kajaran, an industrial town in Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province, since 2016. He was among the heads of more than a dozen local communities who issued earlier this month statements condemning Pashinian’s handling of the war with Azerbaijan and demanding his resignation. They accused him of putting Syunik’s security at grave risk with Armenian troop withdrawals completed over the weekend.
The mayors encouraged hundreds of local residents who blocked a regional highway to disrupt Pashinian’s visit to Syunik on Monday. One of them, Arush Arushanian, was detained hours before the protest.
A Yerevan court ordered the Investigative Committee to free Arushanian on Tuesday. Nevertheless, the law-enforcement agency leveled a string of criminal charges against the mayor of the town of Goris and asked for a court permission to arrest him again. Arushanian rejected the accusations as politically motivated.
Paramazian spoke to journalists when he arrived at the Investigative Committee headquarters in Yerevan for an interrogation on Wednesday morning. The Kajaran mayor again denounced Pashinian and demanded his resignation.
In a statement issued in the evening, the committee said Paramazian has been charged with kidnapping and beating up, together with several other men, a Kajaran resident who assaulted his father in April this year. It said five other individuals were indicted earlier as part of the same criminal case.
Police arrested four of those men in May, sparking protests by hundreds of Kajaran residents sympathetic to Paramazian. Investigators searched the mayor’s home but did not prosecute him at the time.