ArmInfo. By the decision of the court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash districts of Yerevan on September 17, six members of the armed group Khachik Avetisyan, Vladimir Arakelyan, Arthur Yeghiazaryan, Vaginak Stepanyan, Ara Poghosyan and Vahagn Sanazaryan, who were rendered harmless in Yerevan, were released.
The four defendants were released under the personal guarantee of MPs Ararat Zurabyan, Napoleon Azizyan, Hovik Agazaryan and Lena Nazaryan. The measure of restraint in respect of Ara Poghosyan and Vaginak Stepanyan was changed to a written undertaking not to leave due to the solicitation of lawyers. Gevorg Sargsyan and the main accused in the case - Arthur Vardanyan continue to remain in custody. Former Deputy Defense Minister of Armenia Vahan Shirkhanyan was released earlier. The court granted the lawyer's request for a change in the measure of restraint, given the guarantee of the deputies of the parliament from the faction "Exit" Sasun Mikaelyan and Hovik Agazaryan.
Recall that on November 25, 2015, as a result of the operational work of the bodies of the National Security Service of Armenia, an organized criminal group was found that planned a number of serious crimes in the territory of Armenia. A former resident of Yerevan living abroad, Arthur Vardanyan, arrived in Armenia in 2015, where he created and directed the criminal community. By prior agreement, the group acquired a large number of weapons, which they hid in a house rented for this purpose in Nork-Marash. On November 25, during a search carried out jointly with the police, a variety of assault rifles, pistols, grenade launchers (including fly type), explosives, explosive devices, military uniforms, bulletproof vests, communication equipment were found in the indicated location. During the search, Arthur Vardanyan and 9 members of the group who were arrested were in the house. The Investigative Directorate of the National Security Service instituted criminal proceedings under Parts 1 and 2 of Art. 223 (creation and participation in a criminal community) and part 3 of Art. 235 (illegal acquisition, sale, storage, transportation or carrying of weapons committed by a group of persons by prior conspiracy). The investigation is under way. In the criminal case, charges were brought against 33 people. Among arrested persons, ex-deputy minister of defense of Armenia Vahan Shirkhanyan, detained on December 19, 2015, chairman of the opposition party "Homeland and honor" Garnik Margaryan, the main shareholder of the company "Yeghvard factory of sports shoes" Vladimir Arakelyan. According to the RA National Security Service, Vahan Shirkhanyan is suspected of complicity in the criminal community of Artur Vardanyan, in the performance of specific actions and instructions - he is charged with the acts provided for in Part 2 of Article 223 of the Criminal Code (creation and participation in a criminal community).