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No Charges Filed Over Ousted Yerevan Mayor’s Allegations


Armenia - Mayor Hayk Marutian walks out of Yerevan's municipal assembly before a vote of no confidence in him, December 22, 2021.

Law-enforcement authorities will not prosecute anyone in connection with former Yerevan Mayor Hayk Marutian’s allegations that senior officials pressured him to fire his subordinates criticizing the government and ensure preferential treatment of their cronies doing business in the Armenian capital.

Marutian voiced the allegations on December 22 shortly before the municipal assembly ousted him in a vote of no confidence initiated by its majority loyal to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.

He claimed that during his three-year tenure he routinely received phone calls from unnamed “various officials” asking for construction permits, land allocations, tax advantages and other privileges for “people close to them.” He did not name any of them, saying only that he rejected all such requests.

Marutian further alleged that Armenia’s “most high-ranking officials” repeatedly pressured him to sack municipal employees posting or “liking” comments on social media critical of Pashinian’s government. He said he withstood that pressure as well.

Armenia’s Office of the Prosecutor-General pledged to look into the allegations.

A spokesman for the law-enforcement agency, Gor Abrahamian, said on Thursday that it has decided not open a criminal case because Marutian refused to name names or give other details after being summoned to the Armenian police for questioning.

“He said that what he stated in his speech was … an overall evaluation of practices and that he has no desire to submit any [crime] report and give any explanations,” Abrahamian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. “And since we did not manage to obtain other facts during verification actions the matter was left without consequences.”

Abrahamian also claimed that prosecutors found no evidence of government pressure exerted on city council members refusing to impeach Marutian.

Two such members affiliated with the pro-government My Step bloc claimed late last month to have been blackmailed ahead of the vote of no confidence. My Step leaders denied such pressure.

Pashinian had chosen Marutian to lead My Step’s list of candidates in the last municipal elections held in September 2018 and won by the bloc. Relations between the two men deteriorated after the 2020 war over Nagorno-Karabakh. Marutian increasingly distanced himself from Pashinian’s team in the following months and pointedly declined to support it during snap parliamentary elections held in June 2021.

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