Markarian Appeal to be Heard Thursday

YEREVAN (Yerevan News Agency)–The appeals hearing for the so-called "Dro" trial defendant Hrant Markarian has been scheduled for Thursday–and all signs indicate a high possibility for reducing the defendant’s five year sentence.

Markarian–who was one of the leaders of the Nagorno-Karabakh liberation struggle–was detained and later tried in connection with the so-called "Dro" case which was concocted by the government and carried out following the infamous Dec. 28–1994 preisdential decree banning the activities of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in Armenia.

The trial–which lasted more than two years–was unable to determine the exact nature of the "Dro" group which allegedly planned terrorist activities throughout Armenia–and the most of defendants were sentenced to prison terms with lesser charges.

Markarian who was initially charged with leading the so-called "Dro" group was later sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly traveling with forged documen’s and bearing illegal firearms.

In connection to Thursday’s scheduled hearing–Arkady Ter-Tatevosyan–commander of Nagorno-Karabakh self-defense forces from 1991 to 1992–submitted a deposition in which he stressed that charges brought against one of the organizers of the Nagorno-Karabakh liberation movement were "baseless."

"During the self-defense and liberation movement in Karabakh–from Lisigor to Shoushi–all ARF units were heroic and disciplined," stated Ter-Tatevosyan in his deposition.

"The commander of those forces–Hrant Markarian–had a reputation for organizing and taking an active role in assisting–in all facets–with self-defense initiatives," added Ter-Tatevosyan.

"Hrant Markarian is a humble–fair and kindhearted individual and he enjoys a certain popularity among Karabakh soldiers and leadership circles," concluded the deposition.

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