Verdict Slightly Altered in “Sept. 25″ Case

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A Court of Appeals of the Armenian Supreme Court Wednesday accepted grievances lodged by defendants in the "Sept. 25" case Vahe Varsanian–Onik Hunanian and Seryozha Melkonian.

According to them and their attorneys–a verdict passed in connection with the the case is unlawful as no evidence of committed crimes have been found during the investigation. Under Article 41 of the Armenian Constitution–a defendant is not obliged to prove his innocence and all doubts serve in favor of a defendant.

Passing a verdict–the judicial board fulfilled a government order–the defendants said. According to Public Attorney Avetik Ishkhanian–Varsanian–Hunanian and Melkonian were convicted according to the principle of a collective guilt–that is just because on Sept. 25–1996 attending a rally they sneaked into the National Assembly area.

Attorneys petitioned to dismiss the case for the absence of corpus delicti. However–the judicial board chaired by Justice Mher Khachatrian ruled to leave the verdict passed in relation to Vahe Vrsanian and Seryozha Melkonian intact and altered a verdict passed in relation to Onik Hunanian. The judicial board sentenced Hunanian to 1 year in prison and applying subsection of count 42 of the Armenian Criminal Code postponed the verdict for two years. Under the initial verdict all three defendants were sentenced to 2 years in prison on count 74 – mass disturbances.

In an interview with Noyan Tapan attorney Zhudex Shakarian described a resolution of the Court of Appeals as "an artificial gesture to show that the law exists."

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