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Jailed Oppositionist’s Family Released from Detention

Police have released the six citizens who were detained on Yerevan’s Republic Square on Tuesday morning, Epress.am was informed by one of the detainees, Elmon Yeghnukyan, who is the daughter of Founding Parliament opposition movement member Karo Yeghnukyan. Recall,  Karo Yeghnukyan was arrested in July 2016 on charges of aiding the anti-government armed group Sasna Tsrer (Daredevils of Sasun).

Four of the detainees were members of Yeghnukyan’s family – his wife and three children, the other two were members of the Armenian Women’s Front movement Aghavni Sahakyan and Geghetsik Tonoyan. The citizens were told by the police that they had received information about a bomb planted on the Republic Square.

According to Elmon Yeghnukyan, police drew up a protocol after searching and failing to find a bomb on them. The detainees, however, refused to sign the document.

“We were released at 12:30, so we were held there for more than 3 hours. Police neither read out our rights nor presented any grounds for the detention. These violations were also recorded by the employees of the office of the Human Rights Ombudsman,” Yeghnukyan said.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Facebook page for the Sasna Tsrer group reported that the six citizens had been detained at the Republic Square “for distributing leaflets depicting Diaspora-Armenian political prisoners Zhirayr Sefilyan and Karo Yeghnukyan in the presence of the participants of the Armenia-Diaspora Sixth Pan-Armenian Forum.”

Member of the Armenian Women’s Front Syuzan Simonyan, in turn, wrote on Facebook that police had suspected Ruzanna Yeghnukyan and her children of intending to install a bomb at the Republic Square.

“That was the reason for the detention. According to the police, meanwhile, the members of the Armenian Women’s Front were arrested solely for wearing t-shirts with the image of the political prisoners on it,” Simonyan said.

Note, about 30 minutes after the detention, the Ministry of Emergency Situations issued a statement, according to which an unknown person had called the police and reported a bomb planted on the Square. Later it turned out that the report was false.