Trial of 31 Defendant Released

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Aramais Nigarian–a defendant in the Trial of the 31–was found guilty–Tuesday–of resisting police and illegal possession of weapons and ammunition–by the Judicial Board on Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court. The court withdrew charges of treason that had been previously brought against him.

Nigarian was a member of the Arabo battalion–which fought in Karabakh–and had been sentenced to a year and eleven months in prison. But as he had already served the full term in jail–the court ordered his release.

Nigarian was arrested on May 8–1996. His case was separated from the general "Trial of the 31" because the Court had begun hearings on the general case two months prior to his arrest.

When handing down its verdict on Nigarian’s case–the court ruled on two other defendants in the "Trial of 31." Levon Sargsian was found guilty of illegal possession of weapons and ammunition and given a suspended prison sentence of one year. Sussannah Margarian–one of only two women among the 31–was found guilty of complicity in illegal weapons possession and was given a suspended sentence of six months. The court dropped treason charges previously brought against Sargsian.

The court separated the case against Margarian from the "Trial of 31" because of her failure to appear at hearings. The case against Sargsian was separated from the general one because of his deteriorating state of health while in prison.

Thus–only four people convicted in the Trial of 31–Tigran Vazgenovich Avetisian–Gagik Karapetian–Arsen Yeritsian and Artur Ghazariandering–remain in prison. They were found guilty of murdering two policemen. Authorities–however–are re-examining those cases.

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