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Armenian Presidential Candidate Knew Assassination Suspects

Presidential aspirant Vardan Serdakian says he knows Samvel Harutiunian (left) and Khachatur Pogosian, who have been arrested on suspicion of shooting rival candidate Paruyr Hayrikian.
YEREVAN -- An Armenian presidential candidate says two suspects arrested for the shooting of another candidate once worked for him as house painters.

Vardan Serdakian told journalists in Yerevan on February 12 that, because of his connection to the suspects, he fears being framed and charged with involvement in the assassination attempt against Paruyr Hairikian.

Serdakian did not say when the two men worked in his house.
Armenian presidential candidate Vardan Serdakian
Armenian presidential candidate Vardan Serdakian

Hairikian, the leader of Armenia's Union of National Self-Determination Party, was wounded on January 31.

Surgeons successfully removed a bullet from his shoulder, and he is recovering.

Last week, police arrested two Armenian men in connection with the shooting, but it is still not clear how they were involved.

Seven candidates are running in the election on February 18, which incumbent Serzh Sarkisian is expected to win.