The Court of General Jurisdiction in Yerevan’s central Kentron district resumed on Friday the hearing on measure of restraint for the opposition Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) leader, lawmaker Gagik Tsarukyan. The investigators have petitioned to arrest Tsarukyan as part of the criminal investigation launched against him.
Gagik Tsarukyan attended the hearing and left the courtroom moments ago.
At a question by a reporter whether he demands PM Pashinyan’s resignation, Tsarukyan said: “100 percent of the cabinet must resign.”
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To note, the National Security Service (NSS) has charged Tsarukyan with vote buying, tax evasion and illegal land appropriation. Armenian MPs voted to strip the opposition figure of immunity from prosecution on June 16, moving to push through the criminal proceedings against him.
However, the Court of General Jurisdiction, presided over by judge Robert Papoyan, ruled against Tsarukyan’s arrest sought by the NSS on June 21, a decision appealed by prosecutors to a higher court. The defense lawyers also filed a number of appeals against that decision to the court.
The Court of Appeals overturned the lower court’s refusal to arrest the opposition MP on July 8, ordering new hearings on the motion to arrest him.
Tsarukyan denies any wrongdoing, dismissing the charges as politically motivated. The MP claims the accusations against him came after his harsh criticism of the Armenian government at the June 5 meeting of his party.