Sarkisian Outraged at Police, Says He’s ‘Ashamed’

Sarkisian at meeting with law enforcement officials

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—President Serzh Sarkisian has expressed outrage at what Armenian prosecutors call a murder cover-up that led to the sacking of two high-ranking police officials.

Sarkisian cited the case as he criticized the Armenian police and pledged to crack down on corruption and incompetence within their ranks at an extraordinary meeting with top law-enforcement officials late on Monday.

Major-General Hovannes Tamamian, the controversial head of the Directorate General of Criminal Investigations at the national police service, and Colonel Varuzhan Adamian, the police chief of Yerevan’s Arabkir district, were sacked late last month.

Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian said through a spokesman that he himself asked the national police chief, Alik Sargsian, to fire the two men because of a botched police investigation into the deadly shooting of a man in Arabkir in May last year. The spokesman, Shahen Tonoyan, said that police investigators deliberately failed to prosecute the murder perpetrator and charged another individual instead.

“The whole public knows that a murder occurred, knows who committed the murder, and yet police officers distorted the case, alleging that it was committed by someone else,” President Sarkisian raged at the police leadership.

“Instead of you, I feel ashamed. You should have been the first to come forward and say to that high-ranking policeman, ‘You immoral type, why are you putting our system to shame?’” he said in an apparent reference to Tamamian.

Sarkisian portrayed the scandal as an example of a lack of professionalism among some police officers. “We don’t need unprofessional policemen,” he said. “Nor do the system and the society need them. Nobody needs them.”

Sarkisian also said that his administration will get tougher on “unacceptable phenomena” like police corruption and abuse of power. He did not specify if that also includes ill-treatment of criminal suspects in police custody, which human rights groups say is commonplace in Armenia.

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2 Comments

  1. Vacheh said:

    Dear Mr. President Sargsyan,

    Please wake up and see what happened to Hosny Mobarak of Egypt. When the people get sick and tired of police brutality, which occurs on a daily basis, they either leave the country or turn against the whole system.

    If your excellency cares to walk in the streets of Yerevan, you can witness how the policemen stop the ordinary drivers and extort 5000 dram bribery, before they let them go. I suggest that you walk the Marshal Baghramyan street from the Presidency Palace to the Opera Square and see this ugly behavior of the police. Then you might direct them to go after the true criminals and leave the ordinary hard working people alone to make their leaving.

    Such corrupt policemen are worse than Turks to us at this juncture of time, where our homeland should thrive and not to see its sons and daughters leaving the country.

  2. Truth said:

    It doesn’t matter, who is the president or opposition leader! An ill guided authoritarian approach will not solve a single problem in the society! and create rule of law and trust!

    Why should police official be better than the ruling elite, who are engaged in job rotation, creation of oligarchy system and break of law ?
    Well, how about daily car accident in Yerevan (hit & run), which cost weekly a couple of old and young RA citizens there life?

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