YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–State prosecutors may soon ask the Armenian parliament to allow the arrest of one of its members–former interior minister Vano Siradeghian–pending a court verdict on his alleged role in a number of contract killings. Siradeghian and 11 other men are presently standing a trial on charges of murdering two police officers in 1994. The ex-minister is also facing separate accusations that–while in power–he had formed a death squad that carried out murders of several other individuals.
The previous parliament last year lifted Siradeghian’s immunity from prosecution on the condition that he will not be taken into custody unless found guilty by the court. Deputy Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian–who has personally pressed on the charges–told RFE/RL on Thursday that his agency may again seek Siradeghian’s arrest for the duration of the trial.
Hovsepian spoke after Thursday’s court hearings on the Siradeghian case–during which relatives of two murdered individuals renewed their deman’s for the ex-minister’s arrest.
The brother of Hovannes Sukiasian–the former Ashtarak district head who was gunned down in 1992–said Siradeghian’s being at large puts him in a "privileged position" compared with the other defendants. Siradeghian and his former ruling Armenian National Movement claim that the charges are politically motivated.