YEREVAN—Artsakh Hero Hratch Mouradian, the mayor of the village of Proshian who was gunned down in front of his office on Tuesday, was laid to rest on Friday, with hundreds of mourners gathered at the funeral.
Armenian police announced Thursday that two people were arrested in connection with Tuesday’s murder.
A spokesman for the Armenian police told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that the suspects are brothers identified as Artak Petrosian and Arayik Petrosian. They both are residents of Proshian, a big village just west of Yerevan.
A written statement issued by the police said investigators have questioned several dozen witnesses and conducted “complex” forensic tests in their efforts to identify those responsible for Muradian’s death.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation said Wednesday that the shooting death of one its members and the mayor of the village of Proshian Hratch Mouradian was politically motivated, citing years of harassment.
Mouradian, a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and an Artsakh War hero was reportedly gunned down as he was headed to his office Tuesday and suffered injuries to his right temple.
Mouradian had an exemplary career from the onset of the Karabakh liberation movement until its end. He was awarded the Military Cross and several medals for his service to his country and heroism on the battlefield in Artsakh.
“There was definitely a political subtext,” ARF Supreme Council of Armenia representative Armen Rustamian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “The authorities are doing everything to hide that subtext.”
“We have long brought to the authorities’ attention the fact that there is constant tension around Hratch for a very simple reason: some people were not interested in the popularity enjoyed by Hratch. The existence of a mayor not belonging to their party and running a large community so close to Yerevan kept many people restless,” said Rustamian.
Rustamian said that Mouradian was at odds with local activists of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia and other government loyalists throughout his eight-year tenure. He said the Proshian mayor received threats from unknown individuals and faced frequent financial audits by other higher-level authorities.
“They realized that they can’t do that through elections and switched to the well-known methods,” claimed the head of ARF’s governing body in Armenia.