As unknown abduct and severely beat up Artak Khachatryan, an activist of the “Termination!” initiative (a movement against tax amendments concerning small and mid-sized enterprises), member of the oppositional Prosperous Armenian Party (PAP) Political Council, the incident assumes a political overtone.
Yet no so long ago, PAP parliamentary faction deputies were just hinting at probable links of the incident and the political processes in the country, while now the PAP Political Council openly slams the authorities for the incident.
Prime Minister of Armenia Hovik Abrahamyan – who is PAP leader Gagik Tsarukyan’s relative - has responded to the Prosperous Armenia Party’s statement rather harshly. Earlier, the Republican Party of Armenia condemned the violence urging the opposition not to politicize the incident.
Meanwhile, criminal charges have been brought over Artak Khachatryan’s abduction and beating. Prosperous Armenia Party slams the authorities for what it calls “an open and cynical challenge to the political forces and public.” “It is obvious that the political authorities are responsible for what has happened. The top leadership of the country is responsible for the criminal atmosphere in the country,” the party said in a statement.
PAP Political Council demands the law-enforcers to take immediate measures to expose the case and other attacks on activists, politicians and public workers. The party warns indirectly: “No one should even dare to think that the violence against Artak Khachatryan and other public and political activists will go unpunished. Both the perpetrators and the forces behind those attacks will answer.” If the law-enforcement is not able to ensure their inevitable punishment, the people will do it, the PAP press office said in the statement.
The Political Council offers the PAP parliamentary faction to boycott the parliament meetings and launch consultations with other factions on further combined actions until the crime is exposed. PAP says the authorities are losing touch with reality and acting in agony.
Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan said in a written response that the PAP Political Council’s statement was “an absurd and cross mistake.” “I think, Gagik Tsarukyan must personally control the statements by representatives of his party, otherwise we will be reluctant to take their emotional absurd statements as his personal opinion,” Abrahamyan said.
In that case, the prime minister says, Gagik Tsarukyan will be responsible for the possible consequences of those irresponsible statements and probable political tensions.