“Dro” Trial Consequences Looming Long After Proceedings

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–What role did the so-called "Dro" case play in political developmen’s in Armenia and relationship between the authorities and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation? Did the mass media display itself as the fourth estate? Was the verdict of the 11 defendants involved in the case fair? All of these questions were raised during round table discussion held Friday by the Yerevan Press Club.

Almost all participants of the round table voiced opinion that despite the seemingly criminal nature–the proceedings were indeed political and that went for the verdict as well.

The participants also agreed that the infamous declaration of Levon Ter-Petrosyan–which charged the ARF with criminal activity–effectively outlawing the party–including its media outlets–set the dim tone for the criminally disguised political persecution.

The "Dro" case was said to be a precedent on which the actions of the judicial power in conditions of other political trials were tested. For instance–a maximum punishment of five years in prison on count 232–part I (illegal possession of arms) never used before in Armenia–was applied to Hrant Markarian and was then applied in the "Trial of 31.

Public opinion during the period following the "Dro" trial also reflected the effects of the proceedings on the social perception of the judicial system.

The participants of the round table also noted that during the trial judicial journalism was created in Armenia–which–in fact–had certain influence on the course of the proceedings.

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