April 20
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YEREVAN. – A short while ago, Gagik Tsarukyan—chairman of the opposition Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP), MP, and business tycoon—arrived at the Court of General Jurisdiction of Yerevan, where the National Security Service’s (NSS) petition to remand him in custody is being heard (PHOTOS).

To the questions of the journalists as to how was his mood, the PAP leader said: "What’s wrong with Tsarukyan that his mood will not be high?"

Tsarukyan again noted that the socioeconomic situation of Armenia had never been as bad as it is now.

Referring to the question about remanding him in custody, he said. "If the situation of the people will improve by arresting me, no problem."

And in response to the remark that there were rumors that some officials had instructed the court to have him arrested, Tsarukyan said that the litigation will show.

The court hearing on this issue was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but the defense was not in the courtroom, reasoning that it had not been properly notified, and therefore the court session was rescheduled for Friday.

As reported earlier, Gagik Tsarukyan has been charged with orchestrating vote buying. But he does not accept the charge and says it as illegal.

Prosecutor General Artur Davtyan had submitted to the National Assembly a petition to strip Tsarukyan of his parliamentary immunity in order to prosecute him, and the legislature had granted this petition.

However, the Yerevan court of first instance had denied the NSS’s petition to remand Tsarukyan in custody. According to the respective court decision, there was a reasonable doubt.

Both sides appealed this decision to the Criminal Court of Appeal. The prosecution demanded to overturn the aforesaid decision of the court of first instance and remand Tsarukyan in custody, whereas his lawyers filed several complaints, one of which was that according to the law, this case should have been investigated by the Special Investigation Service.

The Criminal Court of Appeal denied the lawyers' appeal, whereas partially granted the prosecution’s appeal, overturning the decision of the first instance and sending the case for a new examination.

Then, Gagik Tsarukyan's legal defense team and the Prosecutor General's Office filed a cassation appeal. But it became known on Tuesday that the Court of Cassation did not accept the appeals of the parties for proceedings.

Several former MPs are also defendants in this criminal case.

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