Interior Minister Reveals 1993 Assassin Was Among 25 Arrested Before Resignation

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–During a press conference Wednesday–Armenia’s Minister of Interior and National Security Serge Sarkissian announced that the gang of 25 people arrested prior to the Levon Ter-Petrosyan resgnation was led by Armen Ter-Sahakian.

He added that the members confessed they had been involved in a number of severe crimes–including the murder of Hambartsum Ghandilian–head of the Armenian railway–in 1993. The same people were also implicated in the murder of Ashtarak regional president Hovaness Sukiassian which also occurred in 1993.

"The arrest of the gang has no relations to any political party or official," stressed Sarkissian adding that "we have been investigating this group for a long time and it was a `pleasant’ surprise to finally find them."

Sarkissian added that there did not exist any groups or formations which would "openly and illegally bear arms and face-off with law enforcement agencies."

Sarkissian stated that neither of the three so-called terrorist acts that preceded Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s resignation last week were real acts of terrorism.

The shooting incident with the car of Romik Ghazarian–head of the presidential guard–and other high-ranking officials was initially defined as an assassination attempt.

The incident with the leader of the Avan community of Yerevan–Ruben Hayrapetian–was also an attempt on his life. The third incident with Artsrun Markarian–deputy interior and national security minister was nothing more than an intentional infliction of injuries.

Sarkissian noted that the car was fired upon while motionless–and not while moving at a high speed as testified by Ghazarian. Defense Minister Vazgen Sargsyan’s assertion that Hayrapetian and Markarian were warned beforehand about an attempt on their lives by Ghazarian was not yet confirmed.

Denying rumors that Ghazarian was brought from Moscow to Yerevan–Sarkissian said in case there was a relevant conclusion by the investigator and a sanction by the prosecutor–Ghazarian would be returned from Moscow.

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