By Artak Khulian
YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — A vocal critic of Armenia’s government arrested two months ago died during his trial in Yerevan on Friday, July 15, sparking outcry from the country’s human rights ombudswoman and opposition leaders.
Armen Grigoryan, a well-known entertainment producer, collapsed in the courtroom as his lawyer petitioned the presiding judge to release him from custody. Grigoryan, 56, was pronounced dead by an ambulance crew that arrived at the scene about 10 minutes later.
“They took resuscitation measures but to no avail,” Taguhi Stepanyan, the head of the national ambulance service, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.
Stepanyan said a forensic examination will ascertain the cause of Grigoryan’s sudden death.
Grigoryan, who for years harshly criticized Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, was arrested and indicted on May 18 in connection with a 2021 video in which he made disparaging comments about residents of two Armenian regions sympathetic to the government. The National Security Service accused him of offending their “national dignity.”