February 16
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YEREVAN. – The Ministry of Defense (MOD) of Armenia is bewildered as to why search and arrest were decided for former Defense Minister Mikayel Harutyunyan, in the ongoing criminal case into the events that had occurred in capital city Yerevan on March 1 and 2, 2008, according to Hraparak (Square) newspaper. 

“Of course, he should have been questioned. But they should not have laid the entire case on the 72-year-old man. True, he is not a symbol of justice, honesty; but he has a great contribution to the [Armenian] army.

“If they want to solve the March 1 case, they should start from the police. Whatever was done [in those days] was done by the Police Internal Troops, which are subject to the President. So, [Prime Minister Nikol] Pashinyan has held from the wrong place,” wrote Hraparak.

As reported earlier, a decision was made Tuesday about including Mikayel Harutyunyan in this aforesaid criminal case as a defendant, and on charges of overthrowing—with prior agreement with some other persons—the constitutional order in Armenia, between February 23 and March 2, 2008.

As per the indictment, Harutyunyan and several other officials at the time had violated an article in the Constitution of 2008.  Accordingly, they actually had established martial law in Armenia and used the armed forces on political matters—and against people attending peaceful rallies.

A search has been declared for Mikayel Harutyunyan, and a petition has been filed with the court that he be arrested.

The investigation is still in progress.

On March 1 and 2, 2008, the then authorities used force against the opposition members who were rallying in downtown Yerevan, and against the results of the recent presidential election. Eight demonstrators as well as two servicemen of the internal troops were killed in the clashes. But no one has yet been brought to account for these deaths.

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