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Second former Armenian defence minister to face charges in past week

10 February 2023
Vigen Sargsyan. Image via Facebook.

Armenia’s Prosecutor General has submitted an arrest warrant for former Defence Minister Vigen Sargsyan, the second former defence minister to face charges in the last week.

The arrest warrant issued against Sargsyan on Thursday related to charges of misappropriating property meant for a military housing programme.

Sargsyan served as minister of defence from 2016 until the 2018 revolution. He succeeded Seyran Ohanyan, who, on Wednesday, was stripped of immunity as an MP to face separate charges.

[Read more: Senior Armenian opposition MP stripped of immunity to face charges]

He stands accused of allocating 26 flats to service members who were not in the queue for a military housing programme in January 2018. Sargsyan reportedly gave three of those flats to non-military personnel.

Shortly after coming to power in 2019, Nikol Pashinyan’s government launched several criminal cases against former military officials over alleged abuses of power. Sargsyan was among those involved in the investigations but was not charged at the time.

Sargsyan denied the accusations levelled against him, calling the case a ‘manifestation of political persecution and an open violation of human rights’.

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‘Publish the list of those who received flats, specifying the combat path and merit of each one, and the list of those whose rights, according to the monitoring prosecutor, were violated. It’s disgusting,’ wrote Sargsyan on Facebook on Thursday. 

Sargsyan is the third Armenian defence minister to face prosecution after Ohanyan and Davit Tonoyan. The latter was charged with embezzlement and arrested after the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War. 

[Read more: Armenia’s former Defence Minister arrested, charged with embezzlement]