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NSS Official Says ‘Crime Group’ Plotted ‘Monstrous Attacks’ against Citizens, Politicians

The members of the "organized criminal group" arrested as a result of the Armenian security forces' Wednesday's raid on their house in Yerevan's Nork district were preparing numerous “monstrous attacks” against Armenian citizens, politicians, as well as state agencies, Mikayel Hambardzumyan, the Deputy Chief of the Investigation Department of the National Security Service (NSS), said Friday at a press conference in Yerevan. 

The senior NSS official, however, did not answer the journalists' inquiries regarding the specific nature of these “monstrous” crimes. Hambardzumyan said that the NSS has petitioned for the imprisonment of the detainees, while 34-year-old “gang leader” Arthur Vardanyan's two-month arrest warrant has already been issued. 

Vardanyan has been assigned to lawyer Levon Baghdasaryan who is known for a number of high-profile cases. Baghdasaryan, in particular, defended “Iravunk” paper and its editor-in-chief Hovhannes Galajyan, as well as Union of National Self-Determination party leader Paruyr Hayrikyan

As reported by Armtimes.com, among those arrested is also Karabakh war veteran Khachik Avetisyan. Recall, in April this year Avetisyan announced his intention (AM) to stage a hunger strike at Yerevan's Freedom Square on April 24 to demand the release of 17 Armenian political prisoners. The veteran, however, subsequently failed to keep his promise, saying he would stage the strike at home since "the day of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide should be unified and look presentable for guests.”