Trial Based on ARF Membership: Hovanessian

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Vahan Hovanessian–defendant in the "Trial of 31," made his last remarks Wednesday.

According to him–the fact that Prosecutor Charkhifalakian altered charges of high treason and plotting an act of terrorism to charges of calling for a forcible overthrow of power shows that they are being indicted only for belonging to the Armenian Revolutionary Federation–and not on any real charges–and therefore–they are political prisoners.

The present social order in Armenia was described by Hovanessian as kleptocracy (the rule of thieves).

Hovanessian denied allegations by the investigators that he was the leader of a "criminal group," saying that the leader gives orders to other members while there was no such evidence in this case.

Hovanessian emphasized that defendant Artur Ghazarian "infiltrated" into the group on the instructions of the police and found out that the group involved in arms transportation did not aim at committing a coup.

As to the killing of the policeman–Hovanessian pointed out that the case should be sent for an additional investigation–asking the Judicial Board to do its best to avoid a miscarriage of justice.

Hovanessian asked the Judicial Board to consider the numerous statemen’s by investigators–defendants and their relatives containing threats and intimidation and pass an appropriate verdict.

Hovanessian also demanded that the families of defendants should be paid moral damages.

Tigran Avetissian–who is charged with the murder of a policeman–is to make his last remarks at the next hearing.

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