MOSCOW — Russia has removed former Armenian defense minister Mikael Harutiunian from the list of wanted suspects applied in its territory.

Harutiunian was declared wanted by Armenian law enforcement agencies on charges of breaching constitutional order during the March 1 events in 2008.

Law-enforcement officials said they received a corresponding letter from their Russian counterparts. They did not clarify on what grounds the Russian side made such a decision, citing confidentiality of some of the information stated in the letter.

“Upon studying the case against Harutyunyan, who is accused for the 2008 March 1 events which took place in Yerevan, a decision was made to drop the manhunt on Russian territory,” a source in Russia said.

The source said that nothing threatens Harutiunian on Russian territory, but he still may get arrested and extradited to Armenia if he were to travel to any other CIS member state.

The source also said that the red notice on Harutiunian was received by Russia a while ago not from the general prosecution of Armenia but via international manhunt channels. According to the source, the arrest warrant also includes the residence address of the former minister in Moscow.

In Armenia Harutiunian, who served as defense minister during the deadly post-election events in 2008 and issued a controversial order barracking the troops days before the crackdown on opposition supporters in central Yerevan, is charged with overthrowing the constitutional order. Under Harutiunian’s order, which was declassified recently, special groups were set up and armed with service weapons.

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