Manoukian Asks to be Tried for “Sept. 25″ Events

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)National Democratic Union chairman and opposition presidential candidate Vazgen Manoukian called on Armenia’s Justice Minister to free defendants in the "Sept. 25" case and commence a new trial with him as the sole defendant–reported the Ayjm weekly newspaper.

In a letter–Manoukian told Justice Minister Artavazd Gevorkian that opposition leaders charged with disturbing the peace following last September’s presidential elections–should not stand trial–since he was the person leading the popular movement.

The translated text of the letter is provided below:

"As you may know–there were two sides involved in the Sept. 25 events: the government forces led by Levon Ter-Petrosyan and the large gathering of the people led by me. Our demand was to ensure the legality and fairness of election results.

"I do not expect that you or the court willobjectively and completelyexamine the incidents during and following the presidential elections.

"The activities of the court and the prosecution–in the past several years–come to prove that your intentions are not to serve the people–justice and the law; a reality–which–unfortunately–has become symptomatic for the entire leadership.

"However–even in these conditions–if the judiciary has decided to illegally punish only one [of two] sides involved in the Sept. 25 events–then it is only naturalaccording to the law and common sensethat the person which your investigation has deemed to be the sole organizer of the events be brought to trial. Thus I–Vazgen Manoukian–should be tried–and not the randomly chosen individuals–the charges against whom–incidentally–are legally baseless.

"I have already informed you that–I would only testify in court–since what I did or said in those days was all done out in the open and in the presence of thousands of people. Thus–I suggest that you free all prisoners and begin proceedings against me."

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