Prosecutor General to Appeal for Markarian Release

YEREVAN (Yerevan News Agency)–The so-called "Dro" case defendant Hrand Markarian will get another day in court–Monday as Armenia’s Prosecutor General will present a formal appeal to Armenia’s Supreme Court calling for a lighter sentence and the eventual release of the defendant from prison–sources in the judiciary reported.

The appeal specifically points out that Markarian does not have a previous criminal record–and his freedom has been urged by numerous organizations–political parties and influential leaders.

The appeal further cites that Markarian has as his dependents two underage children and a wife who is ill.

Furthermore–the prosecutor general stresses that Markarian has been an active figure in the national liberation struggle in Karabakh.

The appeal also emphasizes that the aforementioned issues and the charges brought against him do not pose a public thereat–thus calling for a lighter sentence and his release from prison.

Markarian has been incarcerated since Dec. 1994–and following the notorious televised speech of then president Levon Ter-Petrosyan banning the activities of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in Armenia–Markarian was brought to trial on charges of leading a clandestine terrorist organization and drug trafficking in the now infamous "Dro" trial. In Dec. 1996–the court could not prove Markarian’s connection to such a group and sentenced him to a retroactive five-year prison term on lesser charges of bearing illegal arms and traveling with forged documen’s. He has served three years of his sentence.

In a related matter–a date has not yet been set for the appeals hearings on the verdicts of the "Vahan Hovanessian + 30" trial.

The same sources reported that the hearing could also order the release of Hovanessian and others–charges against whom were not proven by yet another lengthy trial.

In response to remarks made Wednesday by Acting President and Prime Minister Robert Kocharian regarding the reinstatement of the ARF in Armenia–the party Executive Council appealed to Armenia’s Justice Minister Marat Aleksanian–who stated that the ARF ban was an issue which concerned him–as well.

Aleksanian announced that an upcoming meeting scheduled with the ARF Executive Council of Armenia would clarify matters and "if legal obstacles do not exist–a legal resolution will take place."

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