Political Prisoners Defense Council Created

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)The "Sept. 25" trial has been concocted to terrorize the people and cause a long-term psychological threat within the population–evaluated Rafael Ghazarian–chairman of the newly created "Sept. ’96 and Political Prisoners" defense council–during a press conference Thursday.

Ghazarian stated that the preliminary investigation by the prosecution is reminiscent of Stalinist-era terror and tactics of the Azeri OMON forces.

He also expressed disappointment in the indifference regarding the "Sept. 25" trial and the numerous protests.

Ghazarian stated that the authorities were attempting to depict the "Sept. 25" defendants as hooligans–just the same the perpetrators of the Sumgait massacres were during their trial.

The council’s secretary Rouben Torosian remarked that there were more than 70 political prisoners currently in Armenia’s prisons–some of them were members of the Nagorno-Karabakh self-defense forces.

He added that "Sept. 25" trial proceedings demonstrated that aside from statemen’s and testimony gathered through brutal torture and beatings–there was no other evidence for the state to prove its case.

In addressing rumors of torture and mistreatment of prisoners–Ghazarian stated that Armenia needed a fair and independent judiciary but instead "we have a puppet National Assembly–power ministries and a Constitutional Court."

The leaders of the new group stressed that their foremost aim was to support the defendants in the "Sept. 25" case–since "any one of us could have been in their place."

The group also announced plans for a round-table discussion with the participation of justice minister and the chairmen of the Constitutional and the Supreme courts.

The group also announced the establishment of a fund to assist relatives of defendants accused in the "Sept. 25" case. Donations are accepted in dollars or drams.

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