Bodyguards of Slain Troops Commander Freed

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Bodyguards of Armenia’s former interior troops commander–arrested on suspicion of involvement in General Artsrun Markarian’s murder last February–were released from jail on Wednesday for unknown reasons.

Citing the prosecutor’s office–the official Armenpress news agency reported that the two men–Arsen Khachatrian and Armen Khachatrian–are forbidden to leave Yerevan until the investigation is over.

Markarian’s body–pierced by two bullets–was found on a roadside 15 kilometers north of the Yerevan on February 9 . Markarian–who was also a deputy interior and national security minister–was shot at the chest and head. Prosecutors have claimed before that the bodyguards were with the general until their car stopped at the fatal section of the highway. The bodyguards have denied any involvement in the murder–which is still shrouded in mystery.

Gen. Markarian was the third senior Armenian official to be gunned down since August 1998. Armenpress quoted a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office as saying that law-enforcement bodies have "completed investigative activities with regard to the bodyguards–but the investigation still continues." It remained unclear when the prosecutors plan to submit the case to the court and whether the two suspects will go on trial.


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