YEREVAN, October 11. /ARKA/. A deputy of the ruling Republican party of Armenia Mkrtich Minasyan referred to the U.S. ambassador John Heffern’s statement on “Oskanian case” as outrageous.
He also said Armenia’s former foreign minister is “the U.S. envoy.”
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.
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.
“It is unacceptable to go forward by double standards. A diplomat should not put political pressure, especially when the issue is legal, and not political,” Minasyan said at the press conference on Thursday, Novosti-Armenia reports.
He also said he sees some implication in Heffern’s statement, as Oskanian was the U.S. citizen and promoted some Western interests in Armenia.
“It is normal that the USA try to support him, closing eyes on what he has done,” Minasyan added.
He also highlighted that Armenia’s former FM is a professional diplomat and he served to his country honorably.
“ I hope Oskanian made a mistake unconsciously, as I have always known him as a modest and ethical man,” the deputy said adding that he will apologize in front of Oskanian if the letter is not guilty.
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 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-