YEREVAN (Armenpress–RFE/RL–Noyan Tapan)–The investigation into the criminal case of the October 27 killings in parliament will be over by the end of June–announced Artak Harutunian–head of the investigation department of the military prosecution.
He also said that the military prosecutors investigating the case have decided to close the criminal case against Alexan Harutiunian–president Kocharian’s aide–arrested on charges of conspiracy in the parliament shootings–for lack of evidence.
Harutiunian was arrested last December and charged with "inciting" five gunmen to storm the parliament building.
The presidential aide was released from pre-trial detention in early April. A Yerevan court ruled that there are no legal grounds for keeping him in jail.
Another suspect–Harutiun Harutiunian–deputy director of the state-run Armenian National Television–was released from custody Friday after a local court in Yerevan refused to prolong his pre-trial detention for the lack of evidence. He had spent five months in jail on charges of complicity in last October’s assassinations in the parliament.
After spending seven months in custody on charges of complicity in last October’s parliament assassinations–deputy Mushegh Movsisian was released on Monday–becoming the third suspect in the case to regain his liberty–Radio Free Europe reported Monday.
Movsisian had been arrested in the parliament chamber just days after gunmen’sprayed it with bullets–killing Armenia’s prime minister–parliament speaker and six other officials. Fellow lawmakers had voted to lift his immunity from prosecution despite his firm denial of involvement in the crime. Some of them waited outside the Nubarashen prison in the southern outskirts of Yerevan to greet him.
Movsisian’s release became inevitable last week when a court in the Armenian capital ruled that there are no grounds anymore for keeping him in jail. The deputy–little known to the public before his arrest–refused to comment as he emerged from Nubarashen. Two other major suspects–an aide to President Robert Kocharian and a deputy director of Armenian National Television–were set free earlier. In addition–presidential adviser Aleksan Harutiunian was cleared of complicity charges on Friday–when military prosecutors investigating the parliament killings decided to close the criminal case against him–in a crucial boost to Kocharian’s efforts to dissipate suspicion about his own involvement in the crime.
The latest developmen’s followed the decision by Nairi Hunanian–the arrested leader of gunmen who stormed the parliament–to retract his earlier testimony implicating the three men. In a letter to Kocharian–Hunanian claimed that it was extracted by force.
Movsisian’s release reduces to the total number of individuals held in detention in connection with the parliament shootings to 13.
Defendant in the October 27 parliament killings case–journalist Nairi Badalian–was released from prison on June 3 and ordered not to leave the city–announced Head of the Investigation Department–Prosecutor’s Office of Armenia–head of the investigatory group–Artak Harutiunian–reported the Noyan Tapan news agency.
A day earlier–Deputy Executive Director of the Armenian National Television Harutiun Harutiunian was also released from custody.
Currently–of the 18 persons have been charged in connection to October 27–four–including Sasha Glechian and Misak Mkrtichian have been released from custody and ordered not to leave the city.
On June 2–the Military Prosecutor’s Office decided to discontinue the prosecution of former head of the presidential staff Alexan Harutiunian who was charged with abetting the terrorist act. He was released as early as April.
Artak Harutiunian did not rule out the possibility of the charges against Harutiun Harutiunian–Nairi Badalian and Mushegh Movsissian being dismissed as well.