YEREVAN, February 8. / ARKA /. Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) said today two persons have been detained as part of the investigation into last week’s apparent assassination attempt against an Armenian presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikyan, who is now recovering in hospital after a surgery.
It said the two persons are Khachatur Poghosyan, born in 1966, residing in Yerevan illegally with no job who had been convicted in the past of drug trafficking, and Samvel Harutyunyan, born in 1972.
The National Security Service said both men confessed to the circumstances of the case. The motives are being checked. The agency said it will report periodically on the progress of the investigation.
Earlier, the opposition candidate, Paruyr Hayrikyan, said he suspected that the gunman was not an Armenian. Shortly after the attack Hayrikyan, a Soviet-era dissident, blamed the attack on ‘Russian imperialism.’
Hayrikyan, 63, the leader of a small opposition party, the National Self-Determination Union, was shot in the shoulder close to his home in the capital Yerevan on January 31. Doctors removed the bullet the following day.
The February 18 election will be contested by eight candidates - the incumbent president Serzh Sargsyan, former prime minister Hrant Bagratian, ex-foreign minister Raffi Hovannisian, a Soviet time dissident Paruyr Hayrikyan, former foreign minister of Karabakh Arman Melikyan, a political analyst Andrias Ghukasyan, a businessman Vartan Sedrakian and Aram Harutyunyan, leader of a small National Unity party. -0-