PROSHIAN, Armenia (RFE/RL)—Two years after a village mayor affiliated with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun) was shot dead in broad daylight, law enforcement authorities have not identified those responsible for what his relatives and friends consider a politically motivated crime.
Hrach Muradian was gunned down outside his office in Proshian, a big village just west of Yerevan, on April 2, 2013. A local resident was arrested in the following days on charges of carrying out the killing. The suspect, who strongly denied the accusation, was set free for lack of evidence ten months later.
Muradian’s family also questioned his alleged involvement, saying that other, more influential individuals were involved in the high-profile killing. Some family members have repeatedly alleged a high-level cover-up of the crime.
Late last week, the late mayor’s wife sent an open letter to President Serzh Sarkisian urging him to help solve the killing. She said that investigators’ failure to punish its masterminds and perpetrators is a “challenge” to Sarkisian as well.
Dashnaktsutiun, which is officially in opposition to the Armenian government, has also alleged political motives behind the crime. In October 2013, the influential party rallied hundreds of supporters outside the presidential palace in Yerevan to protest against the lack of progress in the investigation.
Dashnaktsutiun representatives said at the time that Muradian was at loggerheads with local activists of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) and other government loyalists throughout his tenure. They said he received threats from unknown individuals and faced frequent financial audits by higher-level authorities.
“Dashnaktsutiun has not changed course … This remains our common pain,” Vartanian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). He said his party is very unhappy with the current state of the inquiry into Muradian’s killing.