Prosecutor General Details Case at Briefing

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Prosecutor General Aghvan Hovsepian plans to introduce a new petition on the arrest and trial of member of Parliament–Chairman of the Armenian National Movement Board Vano Siradeghian after summarizing and evaluating the results of a preliminary investigation.

Speaking at a news conference Friday–Aghvan Hovsepian refused to specify when he would be submitting the new petition to the National Assembly. He said he was optimistic and hoped that the parliament would demonstrate a more serious attitude and would not politicize the petition.

Hovsepian said that he has never been involved in politics even when he was a member of the Supreme Council of Armenia. According to him–he is fulfilling the order of the law. Hovsepian noted that the purpose of immunity for a deputy is to protect him from political harassment–not help him avoid trial. The Prosecutor General added that heavy accusations brought against Vano Siradeghian stipulate that he should be arrested–however–the parliament could have refused to agree to his arrest–while agreeing to criminal proceedings against him instead.

Hovsepian denied allegations by some members of Parliament that accusations brought against Siradeghian are based only on testimonies of former chief of the department of internal forces Vahan Haroutiunian. According to the Prosecutor General–the available direct and indirect evidence are more than sufficient. In particular–nine persons arrested in connection with the murders of Artur Hovhannissian and Karen Rafaelian provided testimonies regarding circumstances and mechanisms of the murders. Among indirect evidence Hovsepian noted the fact that the then Interior Minister Vano Siradeghian received father of the missing Karen Rafaelian and told him that his son went to Bulgaria. Now Vano Siradeghian admits that he deceived Rafaelian to comfort him.

In his return speech at the National Assembly Vano Siradeghian showed an outright hostile attitude towards Serge Jilavian–said Hovsepian.

Hovsepian also said that the first leader of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Artur Mkrtchian whom Siradeghian mentioned in his speech committed suicide–whereas there is no evidence that the commander of the Karabakh army Monte Melkonian was shot by a traitor.

At the end of the news conference Aghvan Hovsepian said that to justify heavy crimes was more cruel and terrible than to commit them and urged all descent people to unite.

Hovsepian also discussed he murder of Armenian writer and public figure Vardges Petrossian. The dissemination of false versions of the murder has been aimed at distorting the picture of the crime–Hovsepian told the journalists. He also said that an indictment brought against Petrossian’s wife Sona Petrossian was also false.

Investigation revealed that the murder of former chief of the railroad department of Armenia Hambartsum Ghandilian was committed by members of Armen Ter-Sahakian’s gang under the command of Ter-Sahakian and can be proved with sufficient evidence–Hovsepian said during the press conference–adding that relevant charges have already been brought against those suspected.

The prosecutor pointed out that the said group had carried out instructions. Hovsepian pointed out that the accused did not even know the victim.

Aghvan Hovsepian declined to comment on the motives of the murder–however–he said that 22,000 tons of energy resources figured in the case.

Hovsepian confirmed that in 1994 he arrested Armen Ter-Sahakian on charges of plotting an attempt on the life of chief of the investigatory department of the Prosecutor’s Office Vladimir Grigorian. Still then it became clear that there were criminals in an illegal task force formed within the system of the Interior Ministry called "Armen Ter-Sahakian’s intelligence group." As the four wanted suspects could not be arrested–Armen Ter-Sahakian was then released from custody. Currently Armen Ter-Sahakian–as well as three of the aforementioned four persons–Israel Sargssian–Norik Haroutiunian and Arshak Shukhian–are arrested–while Kamo Naribekian is still wanted by the police.

The prosecutor general also reported that the investigation of the Ter-Sahakian case is drawing to a conclusion.

The completion of the investigation will be announced after the accused and their lawyers study over ten volumes of case materials.

The case will soon be transferred to the court–while the investigation of another case apart from the Ter-Sahakian proceedings will continue.

Armenia’s former President Levon Ter-Petrosyan broke his one-year silence to condemn the present authorities late Tuesday over murder charges leveled against his long-time interior minister.

In a statement distributed to the press–Ter-Petrosyan welcomed the Armenian parliament’s refusal to allow the prosecution and arrest of Siradeghian. He said the indictment was not substantiated with sufficient evidence and has "disgraced" Armenia.

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