Samvel Babayan (left). Photo: Reuters/Str Old

27 February 2019, 18:46

Samvel Babayan's statement recalls problem of citizenship in Nagorno-Karabakh

The former Defence Minister had withdrawn himself from registration in Stepanakert, and his name was not on the voter list, reported the Karabakh police on February 26.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in February 2019, Samvel Babayan, the former Defence Minister of Nagorno-Karabakh, announced his intention to stand for election of the President of Nagorno-Karabakh. On February 25, former Defence Minister Samvel Babayan demanded a clarification from the law enforcement bodies of Nagorno-Karabakh: he said he had been deprived of his citizenship.

On November 28, 2017, the court found Samvel Babayan, the former head of the Ministry of Defence for Nagorno-Karabakh, guilty of involvement in importing the "Igla" MANPADS (man-portable air defence system) into Armenia and sentenced him to six years of imprisonment. The opposition and Samvel Babayan himself called his arrest politically motivated.

On February 26, the Nagorno-Karabakh police voiced a clarification regarding the statement of Samvel Babayan about his deprivation of citizenship, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent reports. According to the police report, Samvel Babayan is not included in the register of voters in Nagorno-Karabakh, but is included in the register of voters in Armenia. "In September 2006, on the basis of his own statement, Samvel Babayan withdrew his registration in Stepanakert for registration in Yerevan, where he is registered to present," reports a statement posted on the police website on February 26.

There is no law on citizenship in Nagorno-Karabakh, and de jure its residents are citizens of Armenia, Hayk Khanumyan, the head of the Karabakh parliament's opposition faction "National Revival", has told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent. Earlier, the parliament of Nagorno-Karabakh has adopted in the first reading the law on citizenship, but the second reading has not yet taken place. "There are passports in the republic, but the authorities have suspended them because of the absence of a law," the MP explained.

According to Hayk Khanumyan, the Samvel Babayan's statement "contained a terminological casus" and it was about registration, not about citizenship. "The presence of registration is equivalent to citizenship and gives certain rights, in particular, to elect and be elected," the MP has noted. He doubts that "there is any political background in the story."

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on February 27, 2019 at 03:38 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Tigran Petrosyan, Alvard Grigoryan; Source: CK correspondents

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