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NSS Employee Who Had Tried to Recruit Journalist Appointed RA President’s Press Secretary

Vladimir Hakobyan, who was appointed on Saturday, July 18 Press Secretary of RA President Serzh Sargsyan, is the person who had attempted to recruit opposition Heritage Party Board Member, journalist Hrayr Manukyan in summer 2014, Epress.am was told by Manukyan himself. 

“At first, when my friends told me [about Hakobyan being appointed the RA President’s Press Secretary], I couldn't believe that even in a country like ours, the person working as the president could appoint this guy his press secretary – until I saw the official press release,” Hrayr Manukyan had earlier written on his personal Facebook page. 

Hrayr Manukyan and Heritage party had previously submitted a criminal lawsuit against the National Security Service (NSS) in connection with Vladimir Hakobyan attempting to recruit Manukyan. In the recording released by the journalist, one can hear how a NSS worker threatened Manukyan after receiving a rejection from him. The Prosecutor General refused to implement a criminal case against the NSS, and currently the party and Manukyan are demanding to overturn the prosecutor’s decision.

Representative of Heritage Party’s interests, lawyer Harutyun Baghdasaryan told Epress.am late last year, that the Prosecutor’s office did not have the right to reject Hrayr Manukyan’s recording as material evidence. According to Baghdasaryan, the Prosecutor’s office first had to initiate a criminal case then justify the material evidence. In addition, as stated by Baghdasaryan, there are elements of trafficking in the case, because Hrayr Manukyan was offered a job by a person who did not present himself as an NSS employee.

In an official release, the President's press service presented Vladimir Hakobyan's biographical data: “Born in Yerevan on 26 November 1982. From 1988 to 1998 studied at Secondary School N167. From 1998 to 2003 has studied at the Chair of Radio Journalism of the Faculty of Culture of the Armenian State Pedagogical University after Khachatur Abovyan. From 2003 to 2005 served in the RA Armed Forces as Technician-Operator at the Computer Connection Center, military rank – sergeant-major. From 11 December 2006 to 17 July 2015 worked at the RA National Security Service. The last position was Head of the Chief Department, military rank – major. In 2011 was awarded the RA Prime Minister’s Letter of Acknowledgment. In 2013 was awarded the Medal of Combat Service by the RA president.”