YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Former President Serzh Sarkisian has reportedly been questioned by Armenian-law-enforcement authorities as a witness in their ongoing investigation into the 2008 post-election violence in Yerevan.
According to the “Haykakan Zhamanak” daily and Hetq.am, the interrogation took place on Friday and lasted for about six hours. Both media outlets also said Sarkisian will be summoned for further questioning.
The Special Investigative Service (SIS), which is conducting the probe, did not deny or confirm the reports on Monday. “Haykakan Zhamanak” is run by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s wife, Anna Hakobian.
The SIS has charged Sarkisian’s predecessor Robert Kocharian and three retired army generals with overthrowing the constitutional order in the wake of a disputed presidential election held in February 2008. The vote formalized the handover of power from Kocharian to Sarkisian, his preferred successor.
The main opposition presidential candidate, Levon Ter-Petrosian, rejected the official election results as fraudulent, staging nonstop demonstrations that were broken up on March 1-2, 2008. Eight protesters and two policemen were killed in vicious streets clashes in Yerevan on that night.
The SIS blamed the Ter-Petrosian-led opposition for the bloodshed until last spring’s “velvet revolution” which brought Pashinian to power. But it now says that Kocharian illegally used army units against the protesters in order to enforce the vote results.
Kocharian, who denies the accusations as politically motivated, was again arrested in December. Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenian strongly condemned the arrest, saying that Pashinyan is exacting “personal revenge” against the man who ruled the county from 1998-2008.