YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–At least three of the allies of former President Levon Ter-Petrosian arrested in recent days have been remanded in pre-trial custody on a string of criminal charges.
The Armenian police said on Wednesday that the most prominent of them, former Deputy Prosecutor-General Gagik Jahangirian, has been formally charged with illegal arms possession and assault on "state officials performing their duties."
Jahangirian was arrested along with his brother and two other companions on Saturday just hours after being dismissed by President Robert Kocharian. The dismissal came the day after the former chief military prosecutor delivered a speech at a Ter-Petrosian rally in Yerevan in which he called the official results of the February 19 presidential election fraudulent and said the ex-president is the rightful winner of the vote.
Two others, Smbat Ayvazian and Suren Sureniants, are senior members of the radical opposition Hanrapetutyun party. Both men were arrested on Sunday near Yerevan’s Liberty Square where Ter-Petrosian supporters have been demonstrating against the official vote results for over a week. Ayvazian was charged late Tuesday with resisting arrest, while Sureniants is prosecuted for "organizing" the unsanctioned the rallies.
Law-enforcement bodies arrested late Tuesday two residents of the northern Noyemberian district. One of them is the older brother of Vano Siradeghian, Armenia’s fugitive former interior minister close to Ter-Petrosian. Officers of the National Security Service were said to have detained the 73-year-old Seryozha Siradeghian after finding an old rifle in his house in the local village of Koti. The NSS did not immediately confirm the information.
The NSS said on Tuesday it had foiled an attempt by the opposition to storm the national television center. The service said a man arrested on Monday, identified as Karen Ter-Stepanian, revealed that supporters of opposition presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrosian planned a march to the television tower and the Public Television and Radio Company.
"They planned to enter the building and demand a chance for Ter-Petrosian to go live on air," the service said in a statement. Several people have been arrested in connection with the plot.