Monday, January 30, 2006

Yerevan Prosecutor `Committed Suicide'

RFE/RL Armenia Report - 01/30/2006
By Karine Kalantarian

Armenia's Office of the Prosecutor-General insisted on Monday that one of its senior officials in Yerevan who was found dead on Friday committed suicide.

The law-enforcement agency suggested at the same time that Arshak Karakhanian, a deputy prosecutor of the city's Malatia-Sebastia district, may have been forced to kill himself.

Its spokesman, Gurgen Ambarian, told RFE/RL that a criminal investigation into Karakhanian's death was launched under Article 110 of the Armenian Criminal Code which deals with `carelessly or indirectly bringing a person to suicide by means of cruel treatment or regular degrading of their human dignity.' Ambarian would not specify if the investigators suspect anyone of involvement, saying only that the probe is not yet over.

Kharakhanian is said to have been killed in his office with a single shot fired from his personal pistol. Law-enforcement sources said he left two brief notes in which he bade farewell to his family and friends and apologized for his fatal decision. The father of four said nothing about his motives, the sources said.

Ambarian confirmed reports that the pistol in question used to belong to Aram Karapetian, a senior prosecutor who allegedly shot dead Armenia's former Prosecutor-General Henrik Khachatrian before taking his own life in 1998. Khachatrian's murder remains a mystery to this day, with opposition politicians and media still questioning the official theory about the crime. Some have even pointed the finger at Aghvan Hovsepian, the current prosecutor-general who succeeded Khachatrian.

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