Former Artsakh Defense Minister’s Lawyer Denies Prosecutor General’s Claim


YEREVAN (A.W.)— On March 27, former Artsakh Defense Minister Samvel Babayan’s lawyer denied Armenia’s Prosecutor General’s claim that Babayan had admitted his involvement in the smuggling of a shoulder fire rocket to Armenia.

Samvel Babayan (Photo: Photolure)

Babayan was arrested on March 23 after the National Security Service (NSS) of Armenia claimed to have confiscated a Russian-made-surface-to-air Igla system from two suspects that the NSS said were paid by Babayan. The security service has yet to comment on the purpose of the smuggling.

On March 25, the office of the Prosecutor General said that although all three men initially denied the accusations against them, they eventually “admitted their connection to the illegal trafficking of that ammunition and gave information about its circumstances,” RFE/RL’s Armenian service reported.

Avetis Kalashyan, Babayan’s lawyer described the prosecutor’s claim as a strange interpretation. He added that it was interpreted in a way where it favored the prosecutor. “I am naturally familiar with all testimonies and there are no confessions of guilt there,” said Kalashyan.

The leaders of the ORO opposition alliance, Seyran Ohanyan, Raffi Hovannisian, and Vartan Oskanian have condemned Babayan’s arrest expressed their solidarity with the former Defense Minister at a news conference on March 27.

Ohanyan described the criminal case as “a political persecution of both Samvel and our bloc.” He added that Babayan has nothing to do with the smuggling. Some Armenian media outlets have cited unnamed government sources and have alleged that Babayan was planning political assassinations or an armed rebellion against the government, prior to the elections.







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