Armenian Authorities Accused Of Bugging Protest Leader’s Room

28 May 2024


An archbishop trying to oust Prime Minister Nikol has found himself under investigation after accusing the Armenian authorities of bugging his hotel room in Yerevan.

Archbishop Bagrat Galstanian first made the allegations on Saturday at the Ani Grand Hotel where he has been staying during ongoing antigovernment protests. Galstanian said he and several of his supporters were meeting in his room when they felt that someone is drilling a hole under its floor.

A video posted on social media showed them knocking on the door of the room downstairs to check the cause of that sound and verify their suspicions that a listening device was planted there.

A young woman staying in that room refused to open the door and called police instead. A group of officers led by the police chief of Yerevan’s central Kentron district swiftly arrived at the scene and escorted her out of the hotel an hour later.

Galstanian repeatedly insisted afterwards that he believes his room was bugged by the authorities.

“There was wiretapping because they took actions against what we discussed [in the room,]” he told journalists.

The protest leader said the fact that the Kentron police chief personally came to the hotel to help the woman leave it bears out his claims.

A spokesman for the Armenian Interior Ministry downplayed the fact, saying it is not uncommon for senior police officers to arrive at the scenes of “serious crimes” or “incidents that have a public resonance.”

Another law-enforcement agency, the Investigative Committee, announced on Monday that it has opened a criminal case in connection with a complaint lodged by the woman, rather than the bugging allegations. The committee said it is investigating “mental suffering” caused to her.

Galstanian scoffed at the move. He said the authorities want to bully him and cover up the wiretapping.

The investigators did not identify the woman or say whether she lives in the hotel. Some Armenian media outlets later disclosed her identify and published social media photographs of her wearing an Armenian military uniform. But her current occupation remains unclear.

Galstanian earlier accused the authorities of unleashing “repressions” against his supporters. About a dozen of them are currently under arrest, accused of “hooliganism” and other crimes committed during the month-long protests sparked by Pashinian’s territorial concessions to Azerbaijan.


Source: Azatutyun

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