YEREVAN—Members of the Armenian Parliament on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly—81 to 3—to prosecute one of their own, retired General Manvel Grigoryan, who will now remain in custody and be charged with grand theft, illegal possession of firearms, after lawmakers voted to strip him of parliamentary immunity.
A member of former president Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia, Grigoryan was arrested on Saturday on corruption charges. National Security Service of Armenia raided his properties in and around Etchmiadzin and found a large trove of arms and ammunition, as well as trove of vehicles and a stockpile of donated food and canned goods earmarked to be sent to soldiers, some of them accompanied by letters written by kindergarten ad school children to soldiers during the 2016 April War.
Armenia’s Prosecutor General quickly charged Grigoryan with grand theft, illegal possession of firearms.
Through his new attorney Karen Kamalyan, Grigoryan has denied any wrongdoing and claimed he had no idea how the items seized from his properties wound up there.
“He [Grigoryan] has said that he has no connection with the items and that he is surprised how the items have appeared in the properties owned by him. He also said that he has been visiting the said property very rarely, twice or three times in a year,” said Kamalyan, Grigoryan’s attorney.
Grigoryan also sent a note to his parliament colleagues urging them to vote in favor of stripping his immunity so he can prove his innocence in court.
When Grigoryan was arrested his fellow Republican Party of Armenia members called the NSS actions politically motivated. Only after the video of the seized items was released did they change their tune began distancing themselves from the retired general and the Artsakh war hero.