An opposition leader in Armenia has been arrested and accused of preparing to kill the prime minister, his lawyer said, adding to the political turmoil created by a controversial peace affect neighbouring Azerbaijan.
Artur Vanetsyan, head of the centre-right Homeland party, was arrested yesterday after being summoned to the headquarters of the Armenian security forces, his lawyers Lusine Sahakyan and Ervand Varosyan said.
They called the detention a “persecution” and denied the allegations against their client that he was preparing to seize power after the murder of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
Pashinyan has faced violent street protests and fierce criticism from Armenia’s political opposition since he signed a peace affect Azerbaijan to finish fighting over the disputed region of Nagorny Karabakh which erupted in September.
Armenia faced heavy losses by technologically superior Azeri troops and Pashinyan agreed to cede large parts of the mostly Christian and ethnically Armenian region to Muslim-majority Azerbaijan so as to bring an end to the hostilities.
Vanetsyan, a former boss of Armenia’s security services known for his links to Russia, was also briefly detained last week along side other senior opposition figures during anti-government protests which saw the prime minister called a “traitor”.
Armenian security services announced the arrest late yesterday of another unnamed man “with anti-government views” who was allegedly found in possession of a “large number of weapons.”
He was preparing “an assassination attempt against a name and therefore the seizure of power” in step with “politicians with anti-government views and their supporters.”