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Four Arrested in Connection with Alleged Murder Attempt of Armenian Governor

Four men – Garen Atajanyan, Henrik Avagyan, Vitaly Minasyan, Ara Budaghyan – were arrested on Friday on suspicion of the attempted murder of Surik Khachatryan, governor of Armenia's Syunik province, the RA National Security Service (NSS) said in a statement. The suspects were sentenced to two months' imprisonment on Sunday, June 5. 

Khachatryan's car came under heavy fire on May 20 on the road to Goris; none of the passengers was hurt. The Investigative Committee of the Republic of Armenia had initiated a criminal case pursuant to the Part 1 of the Article 235 of RA Criminal Code (Illegal procurement, transportation, keeping or carrying of weapons), and Part 2 of the Article 34-104 (attempt of murder).

Law enforcement officers have found large quantities of weapons and ammunition, including an AK-74 riffle, in the homes of the arrested men, the NSS said. Forensic scientists are currently working to establish whether bullet fragments and shell casings found at the crime scene on May 30 match the confiscated weapons. 

Note, Ara Budaghyan is the youngest brother of former Goris mayoral candidate Avetik Budaghyan who was killed outside Khachatryan's house on June 1, 2013. The other Budaghyan brother, Artak, suffered serious injuries in the same incident. In the frame of the initiated criminal case Surik Khachatryan’s son, Tigran, and security guard, Zarzand Nikoghosyan, were arrested. Both men were subsequently released as they were deemed to be acting in self-defense.

During his interrogation on Friday, Ara Budaghyan claimed he had nothing to do with the attempted murder, Budaghyan's lawyer, Hayk Alumyan, told Azatutyun.am.