September 17, 2020 – 13:14 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net – Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and oligarch and opposition lawmaker Gagik Tsarukyan have traded accusations, which saw mentions of a decades-old rape case involving Tsarukyan.
The conflict flared up after Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Arayik Harutyunyan made a reference to Tsarukyan’s past during a Q&A session in the parliament on Wednesday, September 16.
In response to criticism from lawmakers from Tsarukyan’s party, Prosperous Armenia, Harutyunyan said “thanks to educational standards, residents of Kotayk will learn to respect each other in the future, to manage their own hormones, and no sexual violence will ever be committed against strangers in the church.”
Tsarukyan, a resident of the province of Kotayk, was charged with rape several decades ago, but the Court of Cassation acquitted him in the first years of independence. Materials from a closed-door hearing on the case were published in early June after he criticized the authorities, noting that the government had failed and needed to be changed.
Pashinyan on Thursday defended Harutyunyan and made a reference to the rape case in a Facebook post.
“First you invite foreign women to see a church. Then, as a police sergeant, you gang-rape your guests and rob them. Later, you embark on the protection of national values and national identity. Truly “patriotic” activity,” Pashinyan wrote.
Tsarukyan weighed in on the matter in an Instagram post of his own, maintaining that “it’s high time to clearly state in the Constitution that people with serious mental problems should not have the right to hold top political posts, endangering the security of the country and the citizens of Armenia.”