Sunday, 2 March 2008

Detentions of opposition supporters continue - Armenian MP detained

Myasnik Malkhasyan, MP and deputy leader of the Yerkrapah Union of Compatriots (influential Karabakh war veterans organisation) has been detained by police today for “usurpation of state power” and “provoking mass disorders”. These are among routine clauses under which opposition supporters detained nowadays.

Myasnik Malkhasyan was elected a deputy of the Armenian parliament by the proportional system from the governmental Republican Party of Armenia. However, during one of the recent rallies he expressed his support to the opposition movement led by first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan. He then stated that the “Yerkrapah Union of Compatriots is standing beside people.” I wonder how the Yerkrapah Union and its head, deputy defence minister Manvel Grigoryan would react to this news, although taking into account their weakened position right now and the state of emergency rule managed by his arch rival the chief of the general staff of the armed force Seyran Ohanyan, it can’t be substantial, at least for now. Perhaps, authorities think that ‘state of emergency’ is a good cover to try breaking down Yerkrapah Union. However, it will increase the level of discontent among Yerkrapah members and supporters towards Armenian authorities. In any case, considering Malkhasyan’s MP status, in order to proceed further, prosecution needs approval from the parliament. However, taking into account their majority in the parliament and state of emergency, it won’t be a difficult task, I suppose.

Still, it is unacceptable and worrying that people get detained or arrested nowadays in Armenia for purely political reasons.