Vano Siradeghian Trial Postponed to Feb. 14

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The principal defendant in the case of the ex-interior minister–ANM Board Chairman–member of parliament Vano Siradeghian and others stated during a court session on January 31 that only half of the scenarios of the Vazgen Sargsyan–Karen Demirchian and Prosecutor General Henrik Khachatrian assassinations had been actually carried out.

Siradeghian confirmed that on the day of Henrik Khachatrian’s assassination he was invited to the Prosecutor’s Office for interrogation in connection with the murder of Yerevan’s former mayor Hambartsum Galstian–but he refused to give testimony–expressing readiness to testify in court as a witness if the matter went that far. Had he agreed to testify–he might have been inside the Prosecutor’s Office building when the murder was committed.

The counsel for the prosecution presented to the court the issue of the "Armenian Republic" newspaper refuting its own inaccurate information and presenting the time of Investigations Division Chief Aghvan Hovsepian’s entering and leaving the Prosecutor General’s study on the day of Henrik Khachatrian’s murder.

Siradeghian’s attorney Vanya Sukiassian made another statement during the court session indicating that the publication of a petition of victims in the press before its discussion in court as well as the publication of a petition of victims in court at any price – brining in unhealthy Vahan Haroutiunian–was a means to pressure the defense and an attempt to pressure the court. Ruben Balabanian–the lawyer of former internal troops commander Vahan Haroutiunian–pronounced fiercely against the statement of his colleague alleging pressure–while the prosecutor in the case–Deputy Prosecutor General Aghvan Hovsepian described the speech by Siradeghian’s lawyer as a rally rhetoric aimed at disorientating public opinion through mass media.

Haroutiunian called the court’s attention to the inaccuracies and distortions published by the press. He–in particular–clarified that during the previous session he stated: "Vano Siradeghian did not order any killing–he ordered an execution by shooting." Meanwhile–certain mass media mentioned only the first part of that phrase omitting the rest–and the impression is as if Haroutiunian had gone back on his earlier testimony.

The court hearing was postponed to February 14. Presiding Judge Razmik Tovmassian justified the decision by citing Haroutiunian’s poor health and the need to vacate the courtroom for other use.

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