2019 September 12
News from Armenia - Sep/12/2019 :: Kocharyan trial - Arguments - Parents of dead policeman & protester speak - Protests get violent :: Rob vs Nikol lawsuit :: Stats/investments/exports :: Tax waivers for hundreds of mln$ investments :: Smoking & Tons of other bills :: Drug prices :: Captain busted
Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law, even if they may sound as being guilty. Currency in Armenian Drams ֏ unless specified otherwise.
Here is an example program that the US will spend money on, as part of the "military aid to Azerbaijan".
$10mln is given to an American firm VSE Corporation. It'll provide anti-terror training and equipment to Azeri navy in Caspian sea, and help repair their ships. 88% of the work is done in US, 12% in Azerbaijan. Azeri Caspian soldiers will travel to US for training. A similar project was done in 2007.
This is part of the $101mln aid under a wide Section 333 package, which covers things such as aid against terrorism, narcos, etc. Such type of aid has been provided to Azerbaijan in past.
Under this program, US provided $4mln aid to Armenia in 2018. $2.8mln for 2019 and $2.1mln for 2020 are proposed. The situation around Iran has prompted the US govt to pay more attention to Azerbaijan, at least this year.
Today is Rob Kocharyan & his administration members' March 1st trial. The judge is Anna Danibekyan. The court will decide whether Rob should remain behind the bars. Rob's protesters and supporters gathered outside. March 1st victim family arrived. One protester was arrested for not following police orders. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/169249
The police arrested several Kocharyan supporters. One of them admitted to assaulting an anti-Kocharyan woman after the latter cursed at him. He is Aram Harutyunyan, the leader of Roboserj "Azgayin Hamadzaynuthyun" (National Consent) party. "I will stomp Pashinyan with my foot", said Harutyunyan while being detained by the police.
Another anti-Kocharyan protester was beaten by a group of pizza-eating Kocharyan supporters, according to several witnesses. A witness says the police caught several of the perpetrators. The victim was transported with an ambulance.
(video contains a massive buttcrack at 1:36, you're welcome)
Rob referred to the trial as the most shameful trial in the history of Armenia. He said he doesn't have a day job. Didn't want to discuss his health issues in the court. Kocharyan's alleged co-conspirators Seyran Ohanyan, Yuri Khachaturov and others were present in the court for the first time. They gave personal info.
March 1st murder victim's father blamed Rob for the events. Accused him of rewarding the former March 1st chief investigator Vahagn Harutyunyan (on the run) with a promotion for having him tamper with evidence (replacing fired bullet shells, etc) to cover up the crime. He accused the former general prosecutor Aghvan Hovsepyan of participating in the cover-up.
"Rob, you've said in past that you're a man. If you're really a man, take responsibility for your actions", said Sargis Qloyan. He says the govt positioned shooters on the roof of the Yerevan municipality building and later claimed that the shots fired by them were from the protesters.
A mother of a policeman who died in March 1st said her son was deployed in an area where there were no protesters. Sometime in the evening, Kocharyan gave a public statement saying "there are deaths on both sides". At the time, says the mother, there were no deaths in the police force. Mysteriously, her son was shot and killed with a sniper bullet in an area where there were no protesters. She is suspicious that the govt agents orchestrated the murder to justify a case against the protesters. She was then told by the officials that it was an "accidental bullet". She doesn't believe that a sniper bullet could have struck his son accidentally. "My son spent 40 days in the hospital and no one from president's or prosecutor's office went to visit him. Till this day I don't know who exactly shot my son", said the mother.
Seyran Ohanyan responded saying he doesn't remember the story told by the mother. "At the time when people were in the hospital, we paid them visits, they weren't ignored", added Ohanyan.
Rob's lawyer asked the judge to free Rob because they believe the recently Constitutional Court verdict is on their favor. "As long as the Parliament hasn't fixed the law that was struck down, we ask that you free Kocharyan. The struck-down law did not envision a fair trial for a person who had immunity."
Prosecutor argued that the CC's verdict does not say Kocharyan should be freed. "Defense says that since CC found that the struck-down law wasn't properly regulating on what Rob could or couldn't do as a president to have immunity, there shouldn't be a case against him at all. This is a misinterpretation of the CC verdict. CC was asked to comment on Rob's case specifically, but refused, and instead made a general statement. On the other hand, Cassations Court set a precedence on deciding on what actions are within the presidential immunity boundaries. Moreover, an earlier CC verdict said that the Cassations Courts have the right to interpret the Constitution during their verdicts. CC did not say that no one can decide whether Rob can have an immunity in this case. CC said that a president's immunity can be debated in the court by using facts presented by prosecutors." [I wrote about this part in my other post. Looks like the prosecutors interpreted it in a similar way.].
Prosecutor continues: "Rob isn't charged with doing things that were within his legal rights protected by immunity. Therefor presidential immunity does not apply to him. The CC verdict doesn't say that Rob can't be detained for the felonies he is charged with."
The judge left to prepare a verdict by September 17th.
Kocharyan earlier sued Pashinyan, alleging defamation. Pashinyan said you can't murder someone then get away by using a presidential immunity. Pashinyan said it was a general statement, and he didn't directly say Kocharyan murdered people, thus there was no defamation. The court sided with Pashinyan and instructed Rob to pay 200k towards Pashinyan's legal expenses. Rob's team didn't like it an went to Appeals Court. Today the Appeals Court sided with Pashinyan again. Rob can escalate it to Cassations Court within 15 days.
Pashinyan about environmental activism:
In July, some had raised an alarm about a part of Teghut mine being unstable and on the brink of a collapse. If these concerns were true, that part would have collapsed after Tuesday's 4pt earthquake at the mining sight. The govt was pressured to shut down Teghut. This is what I mean when I say we must find the truth. The inspectors went and found that there was no risk of collapse. Had we caved to the pressure, 900 people would unnecessarily lose their jobs, and the abandoned mine would cause other environmental and safety issues.
The miner was then told to strengthen that part of the mine to guarantee long term safety. If these rules are followed, no matter how much I dislike it, the mine will continue to operate. Those who earlier insisted that Teghut would collapse and demanded it to shut down, aren't going to be held accountable for their inaccurate data, because they can always insist on their opinion. Meanwhile, if the govt listened to them and made a wrong decision, the government would face consequences, said Pashinyan.
Update: PM says he gave wrong numbers earlier. The number of newly registered jobs since May-2018 is 65k. Total jobs are 606k and not 601k.
1H19 mining exports are down. Ore down 9%. Aluminum foil down 9%. Cigar down 4%. Electricity down 37% (nuclear plant bloc has just resumed operations). Diamond down 33%. This has resulted in overall 0.5% export decline.
1H19vs18. Cigarette exports are up 26x (26 times); exports to Iraq rose 25x. Scrap of precious metal exports up 5x. Medical equipment export up 17x. Certain fruits down 2x. Chocolate, canned fruits, nuts, frozen fish are up. Molybdenum and gold items are up. More inside...
Foreign investments stats 1H19vs18.
Net inflow of foreign direct investment is down 5x (from $39 to $8 million), mostly because of the situation around Amulsar and Lydian miner. Lydian is registered in Jersey island. Investments from Jersey dried out in mid-2018 when the Amulsar roads were shut down by the environmental groups.
On the other hand, total investments (including direct and portfolio investments, loans and services) have seen a sharp rise. There was a $98 million positive investment. In 2018 period there was a $24 million loss.
Deputy PM Avinyan: So far this year we finished repairing 70km roads and another 300km will finish soon. Initially 330km was planned. By the end of 2023 we'll repair 2500km. (cars will finally replace helicopters)
Govt gave a tax waiver for ArmPower firm to invest 124bln to create a 254MW steam-gas power plant. 704 temporary jobs with 256k salary. 106 permanent jobs with 545k salary.
Govt gave tax waiver to Irina Kochoyan Inc. to invest 661mln on 20 clothing production jobs with 75k salary.
Aniplast Inc. received a waiver to invest 1.4bln on food packaging materials to create 20 jobs with 150k salary.
Ariko-Gor's waiver will allow a 457mln investment in footwear production. 9 jobs with 100k salary.
Govt discussed the anti-smoking draft bill. It's meant to work with the public to reduce smoking, increase cigarette taxes, provide help with quitting smoking, ad restrictions (2021), etc. It's expected to save 7,000 lives within 15 years. It'll prevent 3.3k strokes and 3.6k heart problems. 36k collective years will be added to population's lives. Smoking in closed (2022) and semi-closed areas, in playgrounds, schools and other places will be restricted (some to be banned gradually after 2022).
Pashinyan ratted out NSS chief Vanetsyan saying he secretly smokes. 80% of govt staff and 100% of governors don't smoke. PM himself quit smoking a while ago.
Govt approved the proposal to inject $117 million into the economy by paying back fees that IRS owed to various businesses, but for some reason wasn't legally required to give it back to them and the businesses didn't expect to see that money. Govt thinks the injection will improve the economy. Between 2018-2020, the govt is paying back $462 million (220bln).
Govt approved a measure to lower the cost of imported drugs. One of the proposals is to reduce the shelf life which could result in price reductions. The bill also regulates the certification and import of dietary supplements.
Beginning 2020, Govt wants to help single pensionaires living in social housing units, by paying for their gas, electricity and water.
Parliament also held a session. They approved the draft QP bill to modernize the property registration database and to increase the property taxes for luxury building owners.
QP voted in favor. LHK voted against (needs time). BHK said they'll vote in favor so you won't think that their rich boss Gagik Tsarukyan is abusing his powers to avoid property taxes. 95-15-2. Still needs another vote to pass.
Parliament adopted the LHK bill to allow 1 person to be the sole owner/operator/employee of LLC. 107-1-2.
Parliament approved a draft LHK bill to ease the situation for prisoners by giving them 3 violation rights, instead of current 2, before it worsens the inmate's status.
Parliament adopted a LHK bill to require prisons to create safer conditions for visitors so they won't contract diseases.
Parliament is discussing a LHK bill to criminalize the act of deliberately giving a false information to notary.
BHK MP Sergey Bagratyan: I think Amulsar miner Lydian is exaggerating their investments. Let's create a committee to investigate. We did our internal investigation while consulting Armenian experts, and think the real investments are $20mln, not upwards to $400mln.
Yerevan municipality councilman recorded a video in which he claims that someone is sabotaging city's garbage collection. The video allegedly shows a truck and a driver who had just deliberately dumped a large amount of garbage on Arshakunyats street.
Sanitek had earlier stopped doing its garbage collecting duties. City is gradually taking over. Sanitek didn't pay wages to its workers, who blamed the city for it.
Update: The investigation of hooliganism in Gndevaz is over. 3 environmental activists have been arrested for allegedly assaulting a local Jermuk resident who asked them not to disturb the peace at 22:30 PM by chanting loud "Amulsar is ours" slogans. The victim and his brother were beaten; he ended up in the hospital.
Update: NSS rejected a petition by the former SOC chief David Sanasaryan to drop the abuse of power investigation against him.
Investigators busted an army Captain and a Lieutenant with taking bribes in 2017-2918, in exchange for doing job favors for lower ranking officers in a military unit. Captain is charged with 5 felonies, Lieutenant with 1.
Police says they busted a school director in Aygek with embezzling 10.9mln between 2009-2017 by falsifying employment records.
Weekend Read: The business empire of BHK boss Gagik Tsarukyan.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/d3d9mj/news_from_armenia_sep122019_kocharyan_trial/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2020 Daily Armenia Reports|