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Armenian Police Chief Denies 'Friendly Fire' Killed Police

Armenian Police Chief Alik Sarkisian
Armenian Police Chief Alik Sarkisian
YEREVAN -- The chief of Armenia's national police force denies that either of the two policemen killed in last year's postelection melee in Yerevan could have been killed by fellow police officers, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Major-General Alik Sarkisian warned on August 21 that the opposition media should not make a "scapegoat" out of the police by publishing incriminating stories about individual police officers.

He said recent reports published by pro-opposition members of the disbanded Fact-Finding Group of Experts, which was tasked with investigating the street violence after the February 2008 elections, lacked evidence to blame the police for any of the 10 deaths from March 1-2, 2008.

Sarkisian stressed that police have also failed to find any evidence to support such allegations.

Sarkisian accused the opposition of forgetting that people are innocent until proven guilty.

"If you want police to be punished, then they will be punished," he said. "But only those [police] who hit people with truncheons or roughed them up. I have already submitted evidence [about such things] to the Special Investigation Service. ... But [to believe that] I should find some police officer who fired at another police officer or killed civilians? Leave the police alone."

Sarkisian also discussed a number of other controversial cases, defending the police in every case.