Armenian judge rejects ex-president’s lawyer’s request that case prosecutor recuse himself

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YEREVAN, February 27. /ARKA/. Vahe Misakyan, a first instance court judge in Yerevan, who is presiding over a criminal case that involves Armenia’s ex-president Serzh Sargsyan, rejected today ex-president’s lawyer’s request that prosecutor Arsen Martirosyan recuse himself.

The lawyer, Ruben Hakobyan, claims that numerous violations had been committed during the confrontation between Sargsyan and former minister of agriculture Sergo Karapetyan, whose testimony is believed to have been used to charge Sargsyan with embezzlement of public funds.

The lawyer also claims that during the interrogation the investigator would ask directing questions, and the essence of the charge was not fully clarified. The judge set the next session date for March 26. Serzh Sargsyan, who went on trial on February 25, denies the charges as politically motivated. Sargsyan was formally charged last December with coordinating an “embezzlement” scheme worth 489 million drams (more than $1 million) in government funds allocated in 2013 for the provision of subsidized diesel fuel to farmers.

According to Armenia’s Special Investigative Service, Sargsyan ordered in 2013 that a government tender for the fuel supplier be awarded to Flash oil trader, owned by his longtime friend Barsegh Beglaryan, although another company participating in the tender, offered a lower price.

Other indicted officials are former agriculture minister Sergo Karapeyan, his former deputy, Samvel Galstyan, and another former government official Gevork Harutyunyan. None of them have been held in pretrial detention.

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