YEREVAN (Armenpress–Noyan Tapan–RFE/RL–Yerkir)–Armenian police have arrested Armen Sarkisian–the elder brother of former presidential candidate Aram Sarkisian–on charges of ordering the killing last December 28 of Tigran Naghdalian–chairman of Public TV and Radio Board.
The arrest followed the apprehension last Friday of Hovhanes Harutunian who was wanted in connection with the killing. Following his arrest–Harutunian subsequently admitted to receiving orders to kill Naghdalian from Armen Sarkisian–and plead guilty to all charges brought against him.
Prosecutors said Harutunian’s statement and other related facts were sufficient to take Armen Sarkisian into custody for the period of the investigation.
Armen Sarkisian owns several businesses in his native town of Ararat and other parts of Armenia. Sarkisian’s name was in the news last May when the United States imposed sanctions against him–accusing him of having ties with an Armenian biochemical company that sold sensitive equipment to neighboring Iran. Sarkisian strongly denied at the time any connection with the company called Lizin.
Nine persons–including the alleged perpetrator of the murder–are now in jail pending investigation; another is wanted and still at large.
ARF Armenia Supreme Body member Armen Rustamian dismissed allegations that steps taken in solving Tigran Naghdalian’s murder are aimed at restraining the opposition. "Political forces should not obstruct the investigation," he cautioned–and added that the situation should not be exploited.
He stressed that the ARF asserted earlier that the assassination was "political" in nature–and declined further comment–pending investigations. Greta Sarkisian pickets presidential palace
Sarkisian’s mother Greta Sarkisian–released a statement following the March 16 arrest of her son on charges of organizing the assassination of Tigran Naghdalian–and began on Monday to picket in front of the Presidential Palace–calling on "all Armenian mothers and sisters" to join her.
A portion of her statement reads–"The conspiracy arsenal of Kocharian and his circle knows no limits. They have dared to raise a hand over a family that had given birth to a Sparabed [chief commander]; they have made up lies and cheated their flag to create a link between Naghdalian’s murder and my sons."