Witness Recants Previous Testimony

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)At a court hearing of the so-called "Trial of 31" Monday–witness Lernik Matevossian said he had not been present at last Friday’s court session because of an illness.

Justice David Avetissian read out Matevossian’s statement and his preliminary testimonies.

"Tigran Avetissian having learned about Matevossian’s positive attitude informed the latter of a clandestine organization–which was working out a scheme of non-constitutional change of leadership," statement said.

Matevossian said he remembered the talks and agreed with the text of his statement–confirming his preliminary testimonies. At a court hearing last Tuesday–he denied his preliminary testimonies and doubted the existence of the statement.

Asked by the prosecutor whether all answers to the questions asked at a previous court session were lies–Matevossian answered "yes." He refused to answer the attorneys’ and defendants’ questions– saying that all answers to these questions were given by him in the statement.

Matevossian refused to provide details of his three-day stay at the premises of the National Security Ministry of Armenia.

He denied testimonies given in court that he considered it senseless to speak about physical and psychological pressure exerted on him as it is impossible to prove that.

Public defender Vladimir Hakhverdian reported that during the past couple of days Matevossian has been invited to the National Security and Interior Ministry–while on Monday–before coming to court–Matevossian visited the prosecutor’s office.

Public defender Bagrat Yessayan said that since last Thursday the witness has been under severe mental duress. Reportedly threatened with death–Matevossian was forced to give false testimonies in the court.

The counsel for the defense stated that the witness should be held responsible for giving false testimonies.

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