Armenian Scout Organization Believes Haroutiunian is Innocent

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Being well aware Haroutiun Haroutiunian’s activities and work ethics launching programs for thousands of children and young people–the Board of the Armenian National Scout Organization is convinced that he could not abet the terrorists in committing the heinous crime on October 27–a statement issued by the organization and read out at a news conference January 8 by ANSO President Bagrat Yesayan said.

Pointing out that from 1992 until 1999 Haroutiunian was ANSO president and is currently Chairman of the Euro-Asian division of the International Scout Movement–Yesayan stressed that it was due to Haroutiunian’s activities that the ANSO became a full member of the International Scout Movement.

Yesayan stated that Nairi Hunanian and Haroutiunian had nothing in common as the former was expelled from the organization in the summer of 1991 for abuse and–despite claims made by some mass media–he never was an ANSO leader. "Our organization’s first leader was Vardan Bakhshian who was killed in the Karabakh war," Yesayan said.

The ANSO leader urged the relevant bodies to conduct an impartial investigation. Yesayan said that the public’s confidence in the investigatory group has been shaken–especially after this last arrest.

The ANSO leader pointed out that Nairi Hunanian is acquainted with many well-known people in Armenia and can call out any of their names. Yesayan stated that in Armenia right now "nobody is secure against being arrested if his name is called." As for the allegation that Haroutiunian promised to organize a live TV broadcast for Hunanian–Yesayan said that "one should know that the assistant director who is responsible for the operation of the buildings of the Armenian National TV has nothing to do with this."

Yesayan also pointed out that Haroutiunian’s arrest aroused a serious concern at the Geneva-based headquarters of the International Scout Movement. They are sure of Haroutiunian’s innocence and intend to apply to the Armenian authorities for explanations.

A public council in defense of Haroutiunian was set up on January 7 on the initiative of the Armenian National Television managers–Armen Arzoumanian–the Director of the "Haylur" News Program of the Armenian National Television–told Noyan Tapan.

Another detainment was made in connection with the October 27 events. Commander of a platoon of the police guard regiment–State Security Department of the Interior Ministry–Senior Lieutenant Artur Hakobian was detained on January 8–on suspicion of professional negligence in connection with the killings in parliament. Talking to Noyan Tapan–Head of the Investigation Department–Military Procurator’s Office–Artak Haroutiunian said that lawyer Mais Ghoukassian was invited to defend the detainee from the moment of his detention.

So far–16 persons have been arrested and one detained in connection with the October 27.

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