Markarian Bodyguards Charged With Murder

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Charges of premeditated murder were brought against Arsen and Armen Khachatrian–the two bodyguards of slain deputy interior & national security minister–interior troops commander–Major-General Artsrun Markarian–the Prosecutor’s Office said.

During a National Assembly session Wednesday members of the Yerkrapah–Hayrenik–National Democratic Union–Self-Determination Union and Republic factions discussed the Prosecutor General’s request for lifting of former interior minister Vano Siradeghian’s immunity on murder and kidnapping charges.

Only members of the Republic faction–to which Siradeghian belongs–spoke against sustaining Prosecutor General’s bid.

Speaking on behalf of the NDU–Shavarsh Kocharian said that his group would support the Prosecutor General’s bid.

"Some people say that the prosecutor is a puppet of the authorities. Who made the prosecutor’s office look like this? Who brought about the situation when the executive power became absolutely uncontrollable and it’s natural that it’s getting criminalized–it’s natural and top officials are being assassinated."

Yerkrapah leader Albert Bazeyan pledged his faction’s support for the prosecutor’s request to remove all suspicions that Yerkrapah allegedly obstructed justice.

Bazeyan explained that the new request by the prosecutor–which does not call for Siradeghian’s arrest–would protect the authorities from persecution by Siradeghian and his supporters.

The pro-Siradeghian Republic faction called the prosecutorial motion "an plan initiated by Robert Kocharian" as a pre-election ploy–with its main objective being to divert public attention–throw "a scapegoat" to the society–shirk the responsibility–discredit the Armenian National Movement–and organize an "election farce" through the dissolution of the parliament.

Also on Wednesday–ANM Acting chairman Ararat Zurabian told Noyan Tapan that during a telephone conversation with Siradeghian–the latter called the outcome of the Wednesday vote in the Parliament "normal". Siradeghian said he would recover soon and immediately return to Armenia to face a trial.


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