Vano Siradeghian Taken to Court by Police

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Vano Siradeghian–the former minister of interior charged with plotting murders and racketeering–was escorted by police to the court-room Tuesday.

Siradeghian described the decision made the previous day to bring him to the court-room as a manifestation of malevolence in his respect. According to the defendant–the decision "threw both the public and the press into panic." Siradeghian expressed the opinion that after the beginning of the trial it would progress at a speed the health conditions of the participants would allow. The defendant stated that he no longer needed the services of his previous lawyer Serge Shahverdian and that he had invited a new–seventh–lawyer Vanya Sukiassian–who needed some time to study the case materials. The court postponed the trial until January 9–2000–overlooking the fact that January 9 is a Sunday–a day-off.

Prior to the consideration of this petition the court had considered the petitions to alter the preventive punishmen’s applied against defendants Gagik Petrossian–Yeran’s Melkonian–Movses Nersissian–Hayk Aghajanian and Murad Dashtoyan. The court found it inadvisable that any of these petitions be satisfied at the given state of the trial–motivating the move by the fact that the defendants had been charged on counts stipulating long terms of imprisonment.

The court also declined the petitions submitted by victims Mais Rafaelian and Kim Balayan on changing the preventive punishment used in respect of defendant Vano Siradeghian. The victims reasoned their petitions by the fact that Vano Siradeghian–by causing uncalled-for delays of the trial–was–in fact–impeding the administration of justice. They believe that Siradeghian must be put under arrest–as 9 of the 10 charges brought against him concern heavy crimes. The same reasoning that had served as grounds for declining earlier petitions–was not accepted by the court this time. The victims’ petitions were found groundless and not proceeding from legislation.

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