Attorneys Say Prosecution Defeated

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan) — "The prosecution in "Trial of 31" has been totally defeated," said attorney Tigran Janoyan at a February 14 news conference.

According to him–the fact that the testimonies given by the accused–the victims and thirty-two witnesses did not confirm the charges indicated in the indictment accounted for the defeat of the prosecution.

To avoid the "defeat," the Prosecutor’s Office of Armenia exerted psychological pressure on the thirty-second witness–Lernik Matevossian–who had earlier denied in court his preliminary evidence regarding the coup–thus putting into question the existence of the statement which he had allegedly made.

However–after Matevossian had been pressured–he denied his court evidence and confirmed the preliminary one–confirming the existence of a statement written on July 28–1995. The statement had served as a basis for instituting criminal proceedings.

According to Janoyan–witness Youra Galstian was also subjected to psychological pressure resulting in a heart attack.

According to the attorneys–the Prosecutor’s Office and judges–fearing that Lernik Matevossian will discuss the details of the pressures exerted on him–launched an "offensive" by appealing to organizations which had entrusted public defenders Vova Hakhverdian and Bagrat Yessayan to discontinue support of Yessayan for reasons of "misconduct." The Intellectual Armenia’society and the National Democratic Union had taken into consideration the statement made by the court and were to report to the Supreme Court of Armenia on February 14. Therefore–the trial was suspended until then.

According to the attorneys–this postponement was not in accordance with court procedures. The attorneys believe that purpose of the postponement was not to receive replies from these organizations– but to exert additional pressure on witnesses.

Janoyan said that the hearing would resume after "the prosecution solves the problem it is facing."

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