Trial of Vano Siradeghian Begins

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The court in Yerevan’s Malatia-Sebastia district started legal proceedings on September 9 in connection with the criminal case against Vano Siradeghian.

There are 12 defendants in the case–including the former interior minister–member of parliament and chairman of the ANM Board Vano Siradeghian–the former deputy interior minister and internal troops commander Vahan Haroutiunian–and 10 former interior officials–Norair Tadevossian–Sahak Balayan–Mkrtich Arakelian–Hayk Aghajanian–Artur Shahbazian–Artur Khachatrian–Movses Nersissian–Yeran’s Melkonian–Gagik Petrossian and Murad Dashtoyan.

Of the defendants only Vano Siradeghian is charged with racketeering. He is also charged with plotting and taking part in premeditated murder–accepting bribes–and abusing his office and powers. Vahan Haroutiunian is charged with plotting and taking part in premeditated murder–stretching authority and abusing power–causing damage to property and other charges. Other various charged have been brought against the rest of the defendants in the case.

The prosecution in court is represented by Deputy Prosecutor General Mikael Badirian–Zelim Tadevossian–and the Department’s Senior Attorney Gagik Avetissian. The court relieved Armen Ashrafian of his duties as prosecutor responding to a corresponding petition by Haroutiunian’s Attorney Balabanian.

The court also satisfied defendant Vano Siradeghian’s petition to be given time to find one more lawyer. In answer to Judge Razmik Tovmassian’s inquiry–Siradeghian stated that five lawyers had represented his interests during the preliminary investigation–but he had not signed contracts with any of them yet. He said there were certain differences over defense tactics and so for tactical reasons he had decided to invite an extra lawyer.

The court session was adjourned till September 17.

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