Balayan Defense Attorney Refuse to Participate in Trial

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenian Revolutionary Federation member Kim Balayan–on trial for allegedly organizing the events following the Sept. presidential elections–told the court Wednesday that he and his attorney Rouben Sahakian could no longer take part in the trial–since defense motions for a continuance in order to complete discovery was rejected.

The prosecution argued that the defendant was being charged with serious crimes–proof of which was obtained during the preliminary investigation period.

During the Tuesday court session–Balayan urged the judge to invite National Assembly members Vazgen Manoukian–Davit Vartanian–Rouben Hakopian–Shavarsh Kocharian–Arshak Sadoyan and Seyran Avakian–who have been named as accomplices to Balayan in allegedly organizing the so-called post-election unrest on Sept. 25.

This request was rejected–as was a motion to hear testimony from a sign-language expert to corroborate testimony by two National Assembly employees that Balayan’s gestures during the Sept. 25 events were in fact signs for an attack on the parliament building.

Balayan stated that the decisions of the court were aimed at framing him and that the presiding judge was presiding over the trial with a predisposition.

The defendant told the court that the state–the prosecution–had no evidence corroborating the charges against him. Balayan then filed a protest against the judicial college–while his attorney announced that the defense did not expect a fair verdict from this court.

Public defender Aghassi Arshagian said that taking part in this "puppet court" was futile.

Presiding judge Garik Markarian refused to take the protest motion under consideration and announced that during the next court session on Monday–the prosecution would announce the charges against the defendant.

Armenia’s Supreme Court also began judicial proceedings in connection with the third "September 25" case Wednesday–as defendants Vahe Varsanian–a representative of the National-Democratic Union in the Yerevan district election committee–Onik Hunanian–and Seryozha Melkonian were charged with one count each of participation in a mass disturbance.

Defense attorneys Zhudeks Shakarian and Zhora Khachatrian quickly raised an objection to Justice Martin Karapetian–saying that the judge broke requiremen’s outlined in articles 219 and 234 of the criminal procedure law. Under article 234–the judicial proceedings should have begun no less than 15 days after the decision on assigning the case to the court was taken.

However–a relevant decision was taken on Jan. 28–whereas the proceedings began on June 4–a three-month delay. Attorneys said the justice ignored multiple breaches in law during the investigation–but did not ask for an internal investigation in the case.

Public attorney Lousineh Sahakian said that the criminal case should be dismissed.

In reaction to the objection–prosecutor Rudik Grigorian said that the objection was groundless–and did not–in effect–meet the requiremen’s of the legislation. He also said it was impossible to dismiss the case–saying that "the crime has been committed" and the investigation should reveal whether there was corpus delicti.

Attorneys spoke out against the prosecutor’s remarks–saying that there had been no verdict which would prove guilt of mass disturbance–as was being charged. Therefore–they said–the prosecutor’s remarks were biased and went contrary to the principle of presumption of innocence.

The judicial board has also rejected the objection–saying it was groundless.

The next court session in the case is scheduled for Thursday.

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