Zaruhi Mejlumyan

Seven Hour Search of Founding Parliament Office Ends: Seized Items Trucked Away

The seven hour search of the Yerevan central office of the Founding Parliament (FP) organization by Armenian law enforcement wrapped up minutes ago.

Items seized during the search have been loaded onto a waiting truck

The search began at 6:30 this morning according to an earlier communiqué by the FB. During the search, several night watchmen and an adolescent, were locked in the office and couldn’t leave.

Before the search was over, FP member Gagik Sarukhanyan arrived on the scene and opened the door with a key in his possession. An individual in civilian clothes standing inside showed Sarukhanyan his certificate.

-          Show me the court order allowing the search, Sarukhanyan demanded.

-          The inspector will arrive and present it, said the individual who closed the door from the inside.

“Even if the government allows a rally on the slopes of Mt. Aragatz, there will be regime change. The authorities know what they have cooked up – exodus and a bad social situation. There’s no doubt that the end of this regime has arrived,” said Karabakh War vet Sarukhanyan.

FP member Vardan Hakobyan noted that the government could not halt the popular movement by isolating certain individuals.

“This was the worst thing it [the government] could have done. Everyone expected this given what happened at Berdzor and the provocative actions in Gyumri. They have confused peaceful disobedience with widespread disorder. If they want the people’s rage, they will have it,” said Hakobyan.

FP member Garo Yegnukian told Hetq that ten staffers from the National Security Service arrived at his house at 6:30 this morning to search the place. Yegnukian told them to wait for his attorney.

“In the presence of my attorney and two other witnesses they searched my apartment. Maybe they were looking for guns and ammo, but there wasn’t any,” Yegnukian said.

Yegnukian told Hetq that cops seized three computers and memory chips containing videos of the Berdzor incident, FP booklets and flyers and CDs.

“They counted some 680 booklets and flyers and took them. They took stuff not even remotely connected to the Founding Parliament,” Yegnukian said.

He said they seized money, a watch, pens and paper and was told that he should give testimony in the case as a witness.

“This seemed strange and I refused to offer any testimony. A bit later they told me I was free to go but they never returned any of my stuff. They wanted to arrest me but seemed to change their mind at the last minute,” Yegnukian told Hetq.

Earlier this morning, law enforcement searched the homes of several FP members and detained a handful including Jirair Sefilyan and Pavel Manukyan. Four individuals (Varuzhan Avetisyan, Pavel Manukyan, Gevorg Safaryan and Jirair Sefilyan) have since been arrested on charges of planning to foment public disturbances during events marking April 24 in Yerevan.