Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   17 July

Bar Association president visits anti-Manvel Grigoryan demonstrators to urge ceasing harassment of lawyer

YEREVAN, JANUARY 14, ARMENPRESS. Protests demanding former MP Manvel Grigoryan to be placed under arrest again continue in Yerevan outside the headquarters of the Court of Appeals.

The hearing over Grigoryan’s measure of restraint is underway in the courthouse.

Protesters took to streets back in December of 2018, when Grigoryan, a retired army general, was released from custody on a 25,000,000 dram bail. Days later the prosecution objected the release and filed a complaint.

On January 10, one of the protesters spitted on the car of Grigoryan’s attorney while the latter was attempting to leave the area. The attorney was also verbally abused.

The move prompted Bar Association (known as Chamber of Advocates) president Ara Zohrabyan to personally visit the protest area to find out why the demonstrators are identifying the attorney with the latter’s client.

Zohrabyan expressed concern over the matter, pointing to the Ministerial Committee of the Council of Europe, that has addressed countries to create favorable conditions for attorneys to work unconstrained.

The Bar Association chair even had to explain the functions of an attorney to one of the protesters, noting that it is inadmissible to insult or obstruct the work of a lawyer.

In turn, the protester, Jivan Abrahamyan, claimed that the lawyer himself has insulted the demonstrators.

Grigoryan, a former Member of Parliament, was stripped of immunity by parliament in June 2018 and placed under arrest in suspicion of illegal possession of firearms and grand theft.

At the time of his arrest Grigoryan also served as president of the Yerkrapah Union of Volunteers, but was later ousted by the board of the organization amid highly scandalous accusations.

Law enforcement agencies found a private zoo, a car collection, huge amounts of weapons and ammunition, as well as allegedly embezzled military supplies and donations in his compound. Grigoryan, however, denies any wrongdoing. 

He was released from custody on a 25,000,000 dram bail on December 21, 2018. His release sparked outrage in his hometown of Etchmiatsin.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan


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