Siradeghian Case Finds Itself in Vicious Circle

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The official report of Prosecutor General Boris Nazarian regarding the alternation of preventive punishment in relation to the principal defendant in the Vano Siradeghian case was read out at a court sitting on March 14. We would remind you that the relevant petition presented by the prosecutors was left without consideration by the court and taking into account Siradeghian’s parliamentary immunity. It was forwarded to the General Prosecutor’s Office.

In his reply the Prosecutor General stated: "The issue of choosing arrest as a preventive punishment against Vano Siradeghian has to be settled in accordance with counts 135,136–151 and 312 of the Code of Criminal Procedure if there are sufficient grounds revealed as a result of judicial inquest and with the presence of corresponding conviction and only after that will it become possible to start the corresponding procedure stipulated by the law."

This time the court made a decision not to consider the petition–motivating the decision by corresponding counts of the Code of Criminal Procedures and Armenia’s Constitution under which the presentation of a petition of changing the preventive punishment in relation to a deputy lies within the competence of the Prosecutor General’s Office and not of the court.

The court of the first instance of Yerevan’s Malatia-Sebastia districts chaired by judge Razmik Tovmassian did not consider the petition presented by nine defendants in the case to separate the part of the case concerning Vano Siradeghian into a new proceeding and to alter the preventive punishment (arrest) applied in their relation. Defendant Gagik Petrossian expressed discontent over the course of the judicial inquest is largely connected with the internal political situation in the country–stating on behalf of nine defendants that in case of unreasonable delays they will resort to hunger-strike (Vahan Haroutiunian–Sahak Balyan and Norair Tadevossian are not among these nine defendants). But judge Tovmassian objected: "No hearing has yet been postponed for invalid reasons."

Vanya Sukiassian–who represents the interests of Vano Siradeghian–suggested questioning the former internal troops commander Vahan Haroutiunian. With his questions he tried to prove that it is Vahan Haroutiunian rather than Vano Siradeghian who is responsible for the incorporation of Armen Ter-Sahakian’s group into the internal troops system–the subsequent crimes and their cover-up. However–the defendant retorted that the incorporation of Armen Ter-Sahakian and members of his group first into the police task-force and then into the internal troops had been ordered by the minister. The former chief of the president’s security service Romen Ghazarian and his group were also hired following a relevant instruction without a proper check-up as in the case with Ter-Sahakian’s group. Haroutiunian said that all promotions of members of Ter-Sahakian’s group had been made following the minister’s orders. The defendant said he believed that the murders had been committed following ANM’s orders and with the "pass" of State Radio & Television Company President Samvel Grigorian. This became even more convincing to Haroutiunian after he familiarized himself with the case materials.

In answer to Suakiassian’s question irrelevant to the case–V. Haroutiunian said that he had been interrogated in connection with the October 27 events. He expressed his confidence that Vano Siradeghian had nothing to do with the events.

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