Hounanian Not Under Duress Attorney Says

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–The defense attorney for the leader of a group which opened fire in parliament last Wednesday–killing Armenia’s prime minister and other officials–said that his client was not under duress and had responded to all questions posed to him at the investigation.

Artashes Pahlavuni–who is defending Nairi Hounanian–said his client was not under any duress or psychiatric condition when committing the act. Pahlavuni did not deny reports that other assailants have been arrested for the crime–and added that the scope of their involvement in the siege must be determined during the investigation period.

On the day of the deadly attack on parliament–news reports suggested that Hounanian had business ties with Turkey.

The Turkish media has covered the parliament shooting very vocally and excitedly–but has never mentioned Hounanian’s ties to Turkish circles of influence–including alleged meetings with Turkish officials–the head of the Turkish state television and the state-run Anatolia news agency.

The Anatolia news agency director told Armenpress that Hounanian–in fact–was in Turkey at the invitation of the Turkish information and press minister and met with several high-ranking press officials. He added that Hounanian prepared several reports from Turkey–for broadcast in Armenia.

Hounanian had also expressed interested in developing an Armenia-Turkey broadcast bridge to allow live broadcasts and interviews with leaders from both countries. That project never got off the ground.

It should be noted that Armenian officials have supported–in principle–the concept of establishing a broadcast bridge and have facilitated the Hounanian’s travels to Turkey. The Turkish–government–as well–has addressed the bridge venture and a meeting took place between the director of the TRT-1–the Turkish state television–and others to address this issue.

However–it is evident that following last Wednesday’s siege on parliament–the Turkish government has been reluctant to discuss Hounanian’s visits to Turkey or any other ties with Turkish officials.

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