By Naira Bughadarian
YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — A traffic police officer whose car hit and killed a young woman while escorting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s motorcade was released from custody early on Friday, May 13, hours after being arrested for the second time in two weeks.
The 29-year-old pregnant woman, Sona Mnatsakanyan, was struck by a police SUV while crossing a street in the center of Yerevan on April 26. The vehicle did not stop after the collision that sparked more opposition calls for Pashinyan’s resignation. Its driver, Major Aram Navasardyan, was arrested a few hours later.
Armenia’s Investigative Committee charged Navasardyan with violating traffic rules but released him shortly afterwards. The law-enforcement agency arrested the policeman again on Thursday after a prosecutor ordered it to also charge him with fleeing the scene and not helping the victim.
It went on to request a court permission to hold him in pre-trial detention. A Yerevan court refused to sanction the arrest, however, forcing the investigators to free Navasardyan.
Navasardyan denies the accusations leveled against him. His lawyer, Ruben Baloyan, cited on Thursday a government directive allowing government motorcades to move at up to 100 kilometers / hour in Yerevan.