Political Organization Call for Kim Balayan’s Release

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–More than 30 public political organizations as well as a number of renowned representatives of the scientific and cultural community appealed to the Armenian Supreme Court’s Board on Criminal Proceedings–requesting to change punishment for Kim Balayan.

Kim Balayan–a representative of the Yerevan district of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation–was arrested September 26–1996 and is charged with articles 74 mass disturbances–128 leaving in danger and 232 illegal possession of arms of the Criminal Law of the Republic of Armenia. Balayan’s arrest came at a demonstration–in protest of the recent presidential elections marred with accusations of vote rigging by the authorities–during which Levon Ter-Petrosyan sent military personnel and tanks to confront demonstrators.

During present time Balayan is kept at the Noubarashen prison.

His case was assigned to the court on December 11–1996. In his appeal Head of the Karabakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Pargev Martirossian noted that knowing Karabakh resident Kim Balayan–he believes that Balayan is unable to commit any crime.

"Punishment chosen for Kim Balayan is not conditioned by interests of the criminal case instituted against Kim Balayan and his release would in no way affect the course of the proceedings," members of the Communist Party’s parliamentary faction contend. Balayan’s arrest may be viewed as a vengeance for his previous activity as member of parliament–an appeal signed by more than 10 members of the Armenian Academy of Sciences reads.

"A member of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of Armenia–Chairman of the standing committee on legal issues cannot be equated with defendants or suspects–which after being released–will commit crimes and avoid trial. Such an attitude toward Kim Balayan does not contribute to authorities’ image and the national accord," reads an appeal signed by Lenser Aghalovian–Gevorg Gharibjanian–Silva Kaputikian–Zoriy Balayan–Aramais Sahakian–Vladimir Barkhoudarian–Razmik Davoyan and others.

Similar appeals were lodged by a group of professors at Yerevan State University and steering committee of the Pan-Armenian Forum "Karabakh Defense Committee."

Appeals were also lodged with the Judicial Board some three months ago–but have not yet been considered.

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