Armenia arrests two over presidential candidate attack

Armenia's security service said Friday it had arrested two men over a gun attack that wounded a top candidate in this month's leadership polls.

The two, 47-year-old Khachatur Pogisian and 41-year old Samvel Harutyunyan, "are suspected of committing an attack against presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikyan," the National Security Service said in a statement.

"They pleaded guilty," it said, adding that both had previously been convicted of drug-related crimes.

Hayrikyan, who heads the Union for National Self-Determination, was shot in the upper chest in central Yerevan as he was heading home on January 31.

A veteran figure who was jailed in the Soviet era and then exiled for promoting Armenian independence, Hayrikyan is one of the Caucasus country's best-known politicians, although he is still an election longshot against President Serzh Sarkisyan.

The presidential polls are set to go ahead as scheduled on February 18 despite Hayrikyan's shooting.