Defense Attorneys Call for Verdict of Innocence

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–During the Thursday session of the "Trial of 31" defense attorneys Angela Karapetyan–Rouzanna Hovanessian and Tigran Janoyan requested a verdict of innocence and the freedom of defendants Harutiun Sargssian–Nayiri Manoukian–Souren Sahakian and Gagik Asikyan.

Karapetyan characterized the charges brought against the defendants as baseless and said that there is no evidence of the defendants involvement in carrying out an alleged premeditated coup. Furthermore–she said there is no evidence of any wrongdoing as most of the evidence presented during the court proceedings have been fabricated and concocted.

The attorney added that there has been no statement from his client–and she reminded the court that constructive criticism is not punishable by law. In fact–she quoted a speech made by Levon Ter-Petrosyan on July 3–1995– wherein he emphasized the importance of the democratic process–calling on all to adhere to those processes.

Karapetyan emphasized again that the evidence collected in the case on behalf of the prosecution were done so by overlooking legal procedures and by not using legal search warran’s. She noted one such search at Sargssian’s apartment.

She went on to say that the defendants were beaten and subjected to physical duress during the preliminary investigation–and this fact was clearly apparent from the blood stains from the paperwork for the sessions.

Hovanessian and Karapetyan in their closing remarks also announced that the defendants have served their homeland and have sacrificed from their lives to participate in the national liberation struggle. Their only association with arms have been in this connection and when they have been ordered by their town–Khachik’s military commanders.

Janoyan explained to the court that Asikyan has never possessed firearms and weapons and hence the charges against him are unfounded. The defense attorney also expressed her discontent and called the prosecution’s requests for sentences unfair and unfounded.

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