In Yerevan on May 17, a group of people tried to kidnap Ashot Pashinyan, the 23-year-old son of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. The Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper was the first to report this, the editor-in-chief of which is Anna Hakobyan, the Prime Minister’s wife and mother of the kidnapped.
According to these data, around 15:00 local time (14:00 Moscow time), a group of men forced Ashot Pashinyan into their car. Everything happened near the house of a young man. After a few minutes of the trip, Pashinyan Jr. was able to jump out of a stopped car, but he was hit by a car following him. As a result of the incident, he suffered a leg injury. The alleged thieves then fled.
The press service of the Armenian Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that they had received a statement about an attempt to kidnap the son of the Prime Minister, and now law enforcement agencies are checking this information.
Haykakan Zhamanak claims that members of the Call of Sons group, a public organization that includes relatives of military personnel who died during the 44-day (Second Karabakh) war in the fall of 2020, are behind the kidnapping.
In particular, pro-government Armenian publications report that the direct abductor was Garik Galeyan, the father of Mkhitar Galeyan, who died in Nagorno-Karabakh. However, Vahid Sahakyan, a spokesman for Call of Sons, denied the fact of the kidnapping in an interview with Sputnik Armenia.
“This is disinformation that they are trying to divert the attention of society. There really was an incident, but I can’t provide details,” Sahakyan said.
Garik Galeyan himself told the media that on May 17 there really was an incident with the prime minister’s son, but noted that there was no kidnapping.
“Today we noticed Ashot Pashinyan when we were leaving the administrative court building on Garegin Nzhdeh Street. The mother of the deceased Zhora Martirosyan, Gayane Martirosyan, approached him and said: get into my car, let’s go to Yerablur (military cemetery), see what your mother and father did. There was no violence, he calmly opened the door and sat down. I didn’t touch Ashot with a finger, I didn’t say a word to him, ”said Galeyan.
He also noted that Pashinyan Jr. did not ask to stop the car, did not at first make any attempts to resist. However, pro-government Armenian publications claim that the son of the prime minister demanded to stop the car and let him go.
“He and Zhora’s mother were in the car. On the way, Ashot opened the door and jumped out. I somehow slowed down so that he would not get hit by my car. After that, Ashot ran away. In the end, there are cameras, let them see what happened, ”the man added.
This version coincides with the official statement of the “Call of the Sons” published a little later. “The young man himself got into the car of the mother of the deceased military man, and went with her to Yerablur, and then, for some unknown reason, he vomited out of it. There was no one in the car except him and the woman, ”the message said.
Later, human rights activist Ruben Melikyan said that a significant police force was pulled up to the office of the Call of Sons, and members of the organization were brought in.
“I was half a minute late. The Call of Sons office had red berets and police officers. I was told that the parents [of the soldiers who died in Karabakh] were severely detained, worse than in Yerablur,” the human rights activist said on social networks.
According to him, the detained members of the organization were taken to the police station of Shengavit district of Yerevan.
The Call of Sons organization emerged against the backdrop of protests following the signing of a peace agreement following the end of the Second Karabakh War (September 27, 2020 – November 10, 2020). Its members believe that Nikol Pashinyan bears personal responsibility for the death of those who died during the hostilities, and demand his resignation, as well as the resignation of the current authorities of Armenia. As part of a criminal case investigating the circumstances of the military conflict, they were recognized as victims.
Garik Galeyan, one of the leaders of the movement, had previously been detained by the police. Last May, during the protests in Yerevan, he threatened the current authorities with terror and warned that members of the Call of Sons could seize a school, a kindergarten or a university. Later, he was detained by the police for illegal entry into the territory of one of the military units and a scuffle with the deputy commander.
Later, the Investigative Committee of Armenia received a statement from the son of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Ashot, about an attempt to kidnap him, Gor Abrahamyan, spokesman for the Armenian Investigative Committee, told reporters.
“I consider it necessary to inform that the application submitted to the police by Ashot Pashinyan has been transferred to the Investigative Committee of Armenia. On the basis of the application, a criminal case was initiated. Operational investigative actions are underway to clarify the circumstances of the incident, ”TASS reports Abrahamyan’s words.
Human rights activist Ruben Melikyan also said that four people were detained on suspicion of trying to kidnap Ashot Pashinyan, while none of them pleaded guilty.