YEREVAN—Medical personnel who went to a police compound being seized by an armed group calling itself the “Daredevils of Sasoun” continued being held captive for a second day on Thursday. On the same day law-enforcement authorities arrested a leading figure in the “Daredevils” support protests, Alek Yenikomshian.
On Wednesday morning, the “Daredevils of Sasoun,” who seized a police compound in Yerevan and demanded the release of opposition activist Jirair Sefilian and the resignation of President Serzh Sarkisian, did not allow two doctors, a nurse and a paramedic, who had gone to the compound to offer medical assistance to wounded gunmen to leave.
Members of the “Daredevils of Sasoun” said that they would not release the medical personnel until Armenia’s health minister personally organizes surgeries at the compound.
On Thursday, the health ministry reiterated that the group release the remaining three medical personnel. One of them was released Wednesday evening.
According to Azatutyun.am, the Health Minister Armen Muradyan went to the scene of the standoff in the city’s Erebuni district on Wednesday. However, security forces reportedly kept him from entering the seized compound.
In a statement of Thursday the health ministry said that taking of hostages “went beyond all humanitarian bounds and is unacceptable in the entire world.”
“The Ministry of Health is again calling for the unconditional release of the medical personnel being held hostage,” added the statement.
Also on Thursday, law-enforcement authorities arrested Alek Yenikomshian, another protest organizer and a member of the “Founding Parliament,” an opposition group to which the “Daredevil” gunmen belong.
Yenikomshian’s lawyer, Nikolay Baghdasarian, said on Thursday that his client is suspected of aiding the gunmen affiliated with Founding Parliament. Baghdasarian denied that, saying that the National Security Service has failed to come up with any evidence, according to Azautyun.am, which was told that the arrest is illegal because NSS officers committed serious procedural violations.