Ex-chairman of Armenia's parliament charged with usurpation of power and forgery

Mon 28 Oct 2019 16:56 GMT | 20:56 Local Time

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Ex-chairman of Armenia's parliament Ara Babloyan told reporters today that he was formally charged, but refused to tell what charges were brought against him, saying that his lawyer would provide details.

Babloyan made the announcement after leaving the premises of the Special Investigation Service (SIS), ARKA reports.

"I told them that the accusation is illegal, that what I did was within the framework of the Constitution and the law," he said.

The ex-speaker's lawyer Aram Vardevanyan said his client is accused of the usurpation of power under Article 300 of the Criminal Code, which has never been applied in Armenia. He said the second charge is an official forgery, which falls under Article 314.

On October 22, Armenia's Special Investigation Service said that the ex-speaker of the National Assembly Ara Babloyan was involved as a suspect in a criminal case that involved also Arsen Babayan, the ex-deputy head of parliament staff, who was charged with complicity and official forgery.

According to the Special Investigation Service, Arsen Babayan backdated a resignation letter filed by the former chairman of the Constitutional Court Gagik Harutyunyan, which was signed by Babloyan on March 2.

According to SIS, the forgery enabled the parliament, controlled by the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia, to elect Hrayr Tovmasyan as a new chairman of the Court before the entry into force of amendments to the Armenian constitution, which introduced a six-year term in office for the head of Armenia’s highest court. Tovmasyan was named to run the court under the previous constitution which allows him to hold the post until the age of 70.

Babloyan claims that he had signed the resignation letter, dated March 1, 2018, on March 2, not three days later, as is claimed by the Special Investigation Service.

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