Defendant in Ter Sahakian Case Continues to Testify

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Arshak Shukhian–a defendant in the Ter-Sahakian case–continued to testify in court on June 14. He confirmed that the group formed by Armen Ter-Sahakian had been given a room at the ANM building for the initial period and that several days after the murder of the head of the Ashtarak Regional Executive Committee Hovhannes Sukiassian they were prohibited to use the room. The defendant said the flats of Ter-Sahakian and his mother-in-law were used thereafter as places for gatherings. Shukhian said that many of the group members later were incorporated with the department of internal troops first as instructors and then as intelligence agents–and all of them were armed with weapons. The group–apart from Ter-Sahakian’s orders–also fulfilled the orders coming from the Department of Internal Troops and then interior minister Vano Siradeghian.

The defendant dwelt on the murder of the head of the Ashtarak Regional Executive Committee Hovhannes Sukiassian–chief of the Railroad Department Hambartsum Ghandilian and the attempt on the life of the chief of the investigation department of the Prosecutor’s Office of Armenia Vladimir Grigorian–as well as the episode connected with car stealing with a view to commit murders. The defendant said that members of the group had no personal relations with the victims–they had neither friendly nor hostile feelings to them; only referring to the motives of the murder of Sukiassian–the defendant mentioned that he knew that the Executive Committee Chief "was opposing the government".

The defendant said that after stealing a car for murdering Ghandilian he got into a round-up–and members of the group found themselves in the Mashtots police precinct from where they were released after the interior minister’s advisor Tatul Safarian stepped in–moreover their weapons were returned to them. The defendant also said that after they had been caught while committing an assault on the Ashtarak driveway–they were brought to the Spitak police precinct–which was immediately reported to the interior minister. According to the defendant–Armen Ter-Sahakian told him [Shukhian] to forward the $1,700 received from Vano Siradeghian to the chief of the Ashtarak Regional Department of Internal Affairs Masis Aivazian to hush up the incident.

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