Pro-Kremlin journalists released in Armenia after being detained on arms trafficking suspicions

The Armenian Investigative Committee has announced that pro-Russia blogger Mikael Badalyan and columnist for Sputnik Armenia, a pro-Kremlin news agency, Ashot Gevorkyan have been released, Russia’s state-affiliated RIA Novosti news agency reported late on Friday, citing the committee.

The journalists were detained in the town of Goris, south Armenia, on 7 September. Sputnik Armenia noted that Gevorkyan was working there.

The news emerged Friday morning that the pair had been detained for 72 hours on suspicion of illegal arms trafficking..

The Investigative Committee statement revealed that police searches of the pair’s apartments and cars had recovered “an AK assault rifle, live ammunition rounds, grenades, grenade detonators, pistols, bayonet knives” as well as “hemp plants”.

A lawyer representing the pair claimed that the weapons didn’t belong to them and were the property of a “third person”.

Five other people were also reportedly detained, though their names have not been disclosed.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova called the journalists’ detention a “provocation” and suggested it was aimed at sowing “hatred, fear, and distrust”.

Editor in chief — Kirill Martynov. Terms of use. Privacy policy.