CRU Other Demand Parliament Dissolution

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan–Radio Free Europe)–Vice-President of the Constitutional Rights Union said Wednesday that given the parliament’s failure to grant Armenia’s prosecutor general the ability to prosecute former interior minister Vano Siradeghian on murder charges–the national assembly should be dissolved–in order for law and order to persevere.

Haig Baboukhanian said that the discussion and subsequent vote on the Siradeghian matter demonstrated that the National Assembly is a "criminal entity."

In an interviewed with Hayots Ashkhar newspaper before Tuesday’s voting–Armenian Revolutionary Federation leader Vahan Hovanessian said that President Kocharian should dissolve parliament if it blocks Siradeghian’s prosecution.

As for Siradeghian’s speech–Hovanessian found "horror and panic" in it.

"He just says that he had ensured grain supplies to Armenia from Black Sear ports (while in power) and must therefore be forgiven any crime." Siradeghian has brought "much more damage than benefit" to Armenia–Hovanessian concludes.

The Communist Party of Armenia on Wednesday threatened to walk out of parliament or demand its dissolution–following the National Assembly’s refusal to allow the prosecution of the former interior minister Vano Siradeghian.

"Yet another dark and immoral page has been added to the inglorious history of this National Assembly," said a Communist statement read by the party’s first secretary Sergei Badalian. With only a few months before the end of parliament’s four-year term–Badalian said the Communists are increasingly reluctant to attend its sessions "because people suspected of murders are sitting there."

He said all five Communist deputies present at Tuesday’s vote unanimously voted for "Siradeghian’s punishment." The Communists have seven deputies in the 190-member legislature. The two absent Communist parliamentarians are currently abroad–Badalian said.

A total of 56 deputies voted to strip Siradeghian of his parliamentary immunity–while 65 were against. The Communist leader said the latter saved Siradeghian from jail out of "criminal solidarity."

Commenting on Siradeghian’s attacks on those Armenian officials who come from Nagorno-Karabakh–Badalian said it was a "treacherous attempt to drive a wedge between two sections of our homeland: Armenia and Karabakh."

Newspaper throughout Armenia quoted presidential press secretary Vahe Gabrielian as blaming the Armenian National Movement for parliament’s failure to allow Siradeghian’s prosecution and arrest.

He said the decision "impedes the investigation into serious crimes" and was a "serious blow to the people’s belief in justice." The authorities "will take all necessary measures to ensure the victory of justice."

Meanwhile–prominent Armenian writer–Hrant Matevosian–came out with an unconditional support for Siradeghian saying in "Aravot" that "we–the mediocrities–are removing a giant from the arena."

Even "the enemy" could not do such a bad thing to Siradeghian–he says. In a separate statement–the Armenian Writers’ Union headed by Matevosian–described the murder charges against Siradeghian as a "slander" stemming from "dark political forces" that are intent on finding a "pretext to hide their more serious mistakes and crimes."

Angered by the Writers’ Union announcement–poetess Silva Kapoutikian submitted her resignation from the union–saying that she could not align herself with an organization which supported criminals.

Citing "reliable sources," the Aravot newspaper reported that Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian will on Monday again bring a similar but "amended" appeal to the National Assembly.

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