HHK faction to vote in favor of stripping own MP of immunity
YEREVAN, JUNE 19, ARMENPRESS. The Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) faction will vote in favor of stripping MP Manvel Grigoryan of immunity, head of the faction Vahram Baghdasaryan said today in parliament.
Grigoryan is a member of the HHK faction, but not the HHK party.
“We are declaring that, with respect to the presumption of innocence, we will not obstruct the investigation, we will vote in favor,” he said.
“The charges presented by the prosecutor, if confirmed, the perpetrators must be punished with the entire force of the law,” he said, adding that criminals shouldn’t be protected, regardless of their past, achievements or position. “This is our stance, we will be consistent”, he said.
During today’s special session of parliament, Prosecutor General of Armenia Arthur Davtyan presented the motion on stripping MP Manvel Grigoryan of immunity.
Speaker of Parliament Ara Babloyan said that MP Manvel Grigoryan, who is currently under arrest, has notified him with a letter that he is refusing to take part in the debate.
Prosecutor General Arthur Davtyan began his speech by mentioning that the National Security Service filed a criminal case against Grigoryan in suspicion of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
He said that the investigation has proven that Grigoryan has indeed illegally acquired and possessed large amounts of weapons and ammunition.
He said that the MP, together with his family members and others, began transporting and moving firearms from June 5 to different location in order to “clean” them.
A search conducted in the compounds belonging to the MP has revealed 26 hand grenades, 19 anti-tank grenade launchers, 12 TNT explosives, more than 17000 rounds of different caliber ammo, other firearms and weapons. The search also revealed over 70 million drams, 80,000 USD, 67,350 Euro and 246,500 Ukrainian currency in cash.
33 vehicles were found, including military transportation vehicles.
The search also discovered food which was donated by schoolchildren and teachers to soldiers of the 4-day April War in Artsakh. The aid includes more than 2,000 pieces of condensed milk cans, 160 cans of canned meat, and other supplies, including clothing supplies for servicemen.
Letters written by schoolchildren to soldiers have been found within the boxes which contained the supplies.
The Prosecutor General said that during the search, the MP immeditaly contacted his son at the scene and instructed him to claim that the items belong to him. About thirty minutes into the search the son of the MP arrived at the scene and claimed that the belongings are his.
The Prosecutor General says they have sufficient evidence to charge Grigoryan for illegal acquisition and possession of firearms and grand theft.
Davtyan filed the motion in parliament, requesting MPs to strip the arrested lawmaker of immunity in order to keep in pre-trial detention.
Member of Parliament Manvel Grigoryan, a former general who chairs the Yerkrapah Volunteer Union, a paramilitary organization, was arrested on June 16 by national security service in his hometown of Ejmiatsin (Vagharshapat).
The lawmaker from the Republican Party faction is suspected in embezzling military supplies and illegal possession of firearms. Upon searching the compound of Grigoryan, agents found huge amounts of military weapons and ammunition and supplies, including donated food and clothing which was meant to be sent to soldiers in Artsakh back in 2016. The donated supplies even include letters written by schoolchildren during the days of the April War of 2016.
The Prosecutor General requested an extraordinary sitting of the parliament to take place to strip the MP of parliamentary immunity, in order to keep him in pre-trial custody.
The MP has denied any wrongdoing, and in a letter sent to the Speaker said he will restore his reputation, and called on his colleagues to strip him of immunity since “he has no desire to obstruct the investigation”.
A private zoo and a large car collection were also found during the search of the compound.
Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan