April 20
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YEREVAN. – They want to arrest me so that I do not interfere with the investigation. Gagik Tsarukyan—chairman of the opposition Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP), MP, and business tycoon—  on Friday said this in a conversation with journalists while entering the court.

"I have been out [in freedom] for three months, 100 investigators have been attached [to the criminal case involving me], several thousand people have been examined, there is no testimony against Tsarukyan," he added. "The [2018] revolution [in Armenia] was only empty promises. The people have been waiting for three years. There has been no disgraceful situation like today. Today Armenia has no friendly ties with any country. People [in Armenia] have been brought to poverty, to the edge of the abyss. Man is losing his house and property.”

The PAP leader stressed that all this was not based on personal issues and a demand for an office. "They want Tsarukyan not to speak. There is no personal issue, there is no demand for a domain and an office," he said, in particular.

The Court of General Jurisdiction of Yerevan, presided over by Judge Mnatsakan Martirosyan, on Friday is considering the National Security Service’s (NSS) petition to remand Gagik Tsarukyan in custody.

Speaking to reporters, the defense has informed that it has motioned for Judge Martirosyan’s self-recusal from presiding over this court hearing.

The defense attorneys have submitted a crime report on Gagik Tsarukyan's case to the Prosecutor General and the Special Investigation Service. They stated that they had evidence that, as a result of the illegal interference of some officials, it had been "decided" that the Court of Cassation shall deny the appeals as soon as possible so that the court case could be assigned to the Court of General Jurisdiction of Yerevan as soon as possible, be considered as speedily as possible,  and Tsarukyan be remanded in custody.

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

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