Siradeghian Stay in France Criticized by Watchdog Group

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The human rights and media watchdog group–Reporters Without Borders–headquartered in France–issued an announcement Wednesday condemning fugitive former interior minister Vano Siradeghian’s stay on French soil.

The wording of the announcement indicated that Siradeghian–was–in fact–in France–despite reports from his allies that he was in the United Arab Emirates.

"Since on January 25 of this year–Mr. Siradeghian was charged by Armenian Prosecutor General on several counts of murder plots while he served as Armenia’s Minister of Interior–Reporters Without Borders urges the French and Armenian authorities to undertake efforts in order for him to stand trial," the announcement revealed.

The group also expressed surprise at the hospitality shown by French officials toward a former interior minister who is wanted by his country’s prosecutor general–and is guilty of human rights violations.

The announcement also stressed that Siradeghian was utilizing old Soviet tactics as specified in that defunct code. Furthermore–in 1994–the announcement emphasized–Siradeghian played an influential in the closure of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. Since that day–the announcement pointed out–all opposition gatherings were met with force and numerous newspapers and media outlets were shut down by the interior minister.

The announcement further outlined instances of beatings–arrests and unlawful searches of individuals (attorneys–religious representatives etc.) ordered by the interior minister.

"It is evident that Vano Siradeghian knowingly condoned terrorism–from beatings to political murders–as a means by the authorities to quell any opposition. He is also being blamed for corruption and embezzlement," the announcement continued.

Reporters Without Borders emphasized that since France had recently approved a move to create an international court to try Chilean dictator Augosto Pinochet–it was reprehensible for the French government to provide amnesty to such a guilty party.

Meanwhile in Armenia–a committee to protect the rights of citizens victimized by Vano Siradeghian was set up at the Sakharov Human Rights Fund.

The committee will release its statement on February 11.

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