Kocharian Bodyguard to be Charged Cafe Death Probe

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–A bodyguard of President Robert Kocharian will be charged with beating to death a man in a popular Yerevan caf two months ago–it emerged on Tuesday.

State prosecutors investigating the politically embarrassing murder–widely blamed on Kocharian’s security service–will formally level accusations against one of its officers–Aghamal Harutiunian–later in the day or on Wednesday–a source familiar with the inquiry revealed to RFE/RL.

A 43-year-old resident of Georgia’s Armenian-populated Ninotsminda district–Poghos Poghosian–was found dead in the caf’s toilet on the night from September 25 to 26–shortly after Kocharian left the place. Witnesses say Poghosian was assaulted by presidential bodyguards after making what they thought were offensive remarks about the Armenian president.

Harutiunian and several other officers were suspended from duty after Kocharian vowed to ensure its objective investigation and punish the guilty.

Kocharian admitted last month that Poghosian–who was a member of the influential Armenian Revolutionary Federation died as a result of a "scuffle" with his security service.

A source informed about the probe said Harutiunian–better known to Armenian journalists with his "Kuku" nickname–will be charged with "involuntary manslaughter," a crime punishable by up to three years in prison. The prosecutors may seek an even shorter jail term by citing some "mitigating circumstances," the source said.

Also according to the source–the criminal case will be sent to court before the end of next month. But it is not yet clear whether the bodyguard will be arrested pending his trial.


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