YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Hrayr Tovmasyan, the chairman of Armenia’s Constitutional Court, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in response to recent verbal attacks on him.
Pashinyan again lashed out at Tovmasyan late last month in a continuing bitter dispute with the latter and most other members of the court. In particular, he charged that Tovmasyan “offered his services” and cozied up to him following the 2018 “Velvet Revolution.” He said he rebuffed those overtures because he did not want to cooperate with “representatives of the corrupt former regime.”
Tovmasyan, who has been under strong government pressure to resign in recent months, rejected the claim as untrue while challenging Pashinyan to come up with “credible evidence” of it. He said will take legal action if Pashinyan fails to do that.
The prime minister responded by posting on Facebook a photograph of an expensive pen which he said Tovmasyan gifted him at a 2018 meeting in Yerevan. He portrayed the gift as proof of “the weirdest flattery I’ve ever seen.”
Tovmasyan said through his lawyers afterwards that he will press ahead with the lawsuit.
According to court records publicized on Monday, he wants Pashinyan for retract the “slanderous” statements and apologize for them.