YEREVAN, October 11. /ARKA/. Deputy Speaker of Armenia’s National Assembly Eduard Sharmazanov appealed to the U.S. ambassador to Armenia to abstain from politicization of the legal issues in Armenia.
The U.S. ambassador to Armenia, John Heffern, said in a statement on Wednesday that the charges brought against Armenia’s former foreign minister Vartan Oskanian appear to represent the selective application of Armenian law.
“Of course, I don’t share the viewpoint of Mr ambassador, disseminated in his statement, that the case (of Oskanian) represents the selective application of Armenian law, as it is an exclusively legal issue, and its politicization is unacceptable,” Mr Sharmazanov said in the interview with Armenia’s Radio “Svoboda” (Freedom).
As of Mr Heffern’s concern that the timing of these events relates to the presidential election schedule, Sharmazanov highlighted that it is inappropriate and wrong to connect any legal processes with elections.
Armenia’s Deputy Speaker also noted that it is unacceptable to relate this case to politics or political parties’ struggle reminding that Republicans are also interrogated as suspects in this case.
On Monday Oskanian was summoned to the National Security Service (NSS) and was formally charged with one count of particularly large-scale theft and one count of money laundering. Oskanian was also asked to testify as a ‘defendant’ in the high-profile case, but he refused to do so invoking his constitutional right.
Oskanian was stripped of his immunity last week by the National Assembly after a majority of his fellow lawmakers allowed his prosecution in a secret ballot boycotted by the parliamentary minority factions, including his Prosperous Armenia Party.
Oskanian argues that his prosecution had “political implications” saying the government’s goal is to “step up pressure” on him and his party.
Oskanian is charged by the National Security Service with misappropriating a $1.4-million donation that was made by U.S. philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr. to his Yerevan-based Civilitas Foundation in late 2010. -0-