Parliament Members Come Out of Hiding

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Members of the National Assembly Arshak Sadoyan of the National Democratic Union and former leader of the National Progress Party Albert Baghdassarian turned up Wedensday–after a year of hiding and eluding law enforcement agencies in connection with the Sept. 25–1996 post-presidential elections demonstrations.

The two parliamentarians–who according to the authorities played a role in inciting the beating of National Assembly speaker Babken Ararktsian–denied all allegations at a press conference. According to reports–Sadoyan allegedly instigated the beating by calling out directly to the crowd to attack Ararktsian.

"I was surprised to see Ararktsian staying so late at the National Assembly [building] and waved to him–then I went to the Central Electoral Committee Chairman Khachatur Bezirjian. I did not hear what Babken Ararktsian was telling people," Sadoyan said.

Both Sadoyan and Baghdassarian expressed confidence that the allegations against them will not stand up in court–because there is no proof of any of the charges.

Tigran Janoyan–the attorney for the two politicians confirmed his clients’ statemen’s–noting that he planned to request the Prosecutor’s Office to check up whether the material collected in relation to his clients could serve as evidence.

The attorney paid special attention to the fact that an arrest warrant issued for Sadoyan was unlawful as it violated Article 66 of the Armenian Constitution stipulating a National Assembly consensus on issuing arrest warran’s or any type of criminal proceedings against a member of the National Assembly.

Sadoyan and Baghdassarian did not speak about their political careers–but did say that their active participation in the process seemed more important than ever–because of the authorities’ relentless efforts to pursue their goals illegally.

Following the news conference–Sadoyan and Baghdassarian–accompanied by their attorney and an entourage of reporters went to the Prosecutor General’s office–where they were informed that the meeting with the Prosecutor would be taking place Thursday.

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