Armenian Parliament Deputies, Ombudsman Demand Release of Detained Anti-Semite

Viktor Dallakian and Manuk Gasparian of the opposition Artarutiun bloc offered on 28 January to post bail for Armen Avetisian, leader of the tiny Armenian Aryan Union, who was arrested several days earlier on charges of inciting racial hatred, Noyan Tapan reported. Avetisian has called for the expulsion of all Jews from Armenia (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 and 26 January 2005). Ombudsman Larisa Alaverdian was quoted on 29 January by the independent daily "Azg" as saying she will ask Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian to agree to Avetisian's release pending trial, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported on 31 January. She said she sees no danger of Avetisian either hiding from police or seeking to leave the country. Alaverdian also denied that anti-Semitism is condoned in Armenia either by official policy or public opinion.

Source: RFE/RL Newsline, 1 February 2005