Mourad Papazian, a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau and a co-chair of the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations of France (CCAF) announced on Thursday that he has taken legal steps to reverse the ban placed on his entry to Armenia by the authorities.
“I have decided to restore my right within the legal establishment, and for that I have entrusted my court defense to Member of Parliament Artsvik Minasyan to represent me, and attorney Siranush Sahakyan, whom I authorize to handle the necessary actions,” Papazian said on in a statement published on social media.
On July 14 Papazian arrived in Armenia on a flight from France only to be escorted by Armenia’s National Security staff to a holding area, where he was told that he was banned from entering the country and that he had been declared a persona non-grata.
The government action drew widespread criticism, including from the ARF Bureau, the CCAF leadership, as well as the ARF Western U.S. Central Committee, which in an announcement condemned the government for refusing entry to Armenia for any Armenian.
After weeks of silence on the matter, the government last week stated that the reason for expelling Papazian from Armenia was his alleged role in an anti-government protest in Paris in June 2021, when Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was in the French capital on an official visit.
Papazian called this line of reasoning a “lie,” saying he had traveled to Armenia on at least four occasions since June 2021, the most recent of which was a trip accompanying the mayor of Paris on a visit to Armenia in May of this year.
Papazian said in his statement on Thursday that Minasyan has already filed a complaint to Armenia’s NSS on July 25 calling for the department to reverse the entry ban.
“By law, the NSS has 5 days to issue an answer, and based on that we will decide how to proceed,” Papazian explained.