Three former mayors of Nagorno Karabakh cities arrested by Armenian police

Mayors of the three major cities of former Nagorno Karabakh, have been arrested by Armenian authorities coinciding with a growing opposition movement with whom they may have been associated with. The mayor of Karabakhi capital Stepanakert, and those of Askeran and Martakert cities have been detained by Armenian authorities. Stepanakert mayor, Davit Sargsyan, was arrested on 25 May 2024, after initial reports of police searching his home.

Stepanakert mayor, Davit Sargsyan, during a public event.

Also on 25 May, Martakert mayor, Misha Gurjyan, was arrested by Armenian police alleging the expropriation of a government (Nagorno Karabakh not Armenia) vehicle.

Martakert mayor, Misha Gurjyan.

Prior to that, on 22 May, Askeran mayor, Hayk Shamiryan, was put under house arrest after his home was subjected to a police search. The official motive was again the expropriation of a government vehicle

Askeran mayor, Hayk Shamiryan.

Their defenders and legal experts in the country have reported that their arrests coincide with a major opposition rally planned for Sunday, 26 May in Yerevan, and more broadly, a growing opposition to Armenia’s current government. Experts state that their detentions are politically motivated, all three accused of the same offences, apprehended just days apart and at a time of political upheaval in the country.

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