Home / Armenia / Former Police Chief Says He’s Innocent: Stops Short of Naming Names in Court

Former Police Chief Says He’s Innocent: Stops Short of Naming Names in Court

The judge dismissed the motion to change the precautionary measure of former RA Traffic Police chief Margar Ohanyan at the first court session which took place today at the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash Administrative Districts of Yerevan.

Recall, Ohanyan is accused of abusing his authority and large-scale embezzlement, appropriating approx. 2,500,000 liters of gasoline. Also named as the accused in this case are former commander of the Traffic Police 2nd officers’ battalion Stepan Karakhanyan, and traffic police employees Ara Levonyan and Samvel Makhmuryan. They are not detained, and, in fact, testified against Margar Ohanyan during the trial.

At today’s court session, Ohanyan’s attorney, Mkrtich Vasakyan, had motioned either to change his client’s precautionary measure or to release him on bail. Furthermore, Ohanyan’s attorney noted that his client has diabetes and to consider the fact that Ohanyan worked in the police force for 30 years. Prosecutor Harutyun Harutyunyan, in turn, said this motion is unfounded and subject to rejection.

Prior to Judge Mkhitar Papoyan ruling on the motion, Ohanyan said he would like to speak to the judge and prosecutor privately, without the presence of the media; however, the judge said he can say whatever he has to say publicly. The defendant, in turn, said he didn’t wish to share what he had to say with everyone; however, he made the following statement:

“If there is such a right, I would ask that I be able to make use of this right; if there isn’t, then there’s no problem. Let me just tell you: on Aug. 20, they called me to the Special Investigative Service, after writing only one explanation that this [gasoline theft] didn’t happen and couldn’t have happened. Exactly 40 minutes later, from a witness I turned into a suspect and they arrested me. This had its own reasons which I cannot speak of now — I would like to inform the public prosecutor. I have nothing else to say. It’s been already 4 months and 9 days that I’ve been in custody — I don’t know why… I should’ve simply been dismissed. But the arrest was necessary to have been able to do it all, that which was delivered from the outset and was necessary to finish,” he said, without going into any specific details.

In response to this statement, the prosecution said that Ohanyan could’ve made use of the opportunity to hold a closed-door trial; otherwise, the prosecutor advised him not to make such unsubstantiated statements so the public doesn’t get the wrong idea.

Addressing the prosecution and the judge, Ohanyan said he wants to tell them “what happened how, who was kept for how many hours, and who was the mediator in this country”.

“I don’t want to give his name, that he removed him [points to one of the accused who testified against him], took him from the 6th division at 3 o’clock at night. I’m telling you so you know; you don’t know [addressing the prosecutor and judge]. Recently too they didn’t launch a criminal case against him, they refused. You think I won’t say? Or I won’t say yours… that it’s a MP [points to the other accused who testified against him],” said the defendant.

Following recess after which the judge overruled the defendant’s motion, the prosecution read the charges against Ohanyan, who declared that he is not guilty.

The judge then determined the order of investigating the evidence as follows: first, witnesses will be examined, then the victim’s representative, then the defendants, and then the rest of the testimonies in the case.

The prosecutor motioned to first examine the police representative (Zhirayr Karapetyan) since he is to be examined as a witness in the case; however, since the latter wasn’t in court today, the prosecutor also motioned for the court to be postponed.

The judge sustained the prosecutor’s motion and postponed the trial to Jan. 13 at 11:30 am.