Assailants Revealed in Ghoukassian Murder Attempt

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–As reported earlier–the immediate perpetrators of the terrorist act against Nagorno Karabakh Republic President Arkady Ghoukassian were exposed and arrested as a result of operational measures launched by a special group. In a press release–the Prosecutor’s Office published the names of the arrested people and some biographical data:

1. Aghajanian Sasun Marleni was born in 1967 in Stepanakert. He is non-partisan–and has received a secondary education. At the time of the arrest–he was Chief of the Security Service of the former defense minister–Samvel Babayan. He is married with two children.

2. Ghulian David Alberti was born in 1969 in Stepanakert. He is non-partisan–and has received a secondary education. At the time of the arrest–he was Samvel Babayan’s bodyguard. He is married with one child.

3. Paramazian Erik Yenoki was born in 1974 in Stepanakert. He is also non-partisan–and has received a secondary education. He worked at the "Jupiter" CJSC as supervisor of the bread-baking and macaroni shop. He is Samvel Babayan’s wife full brother.

4. Mirzoyan Levon Vagharshaki was born in 1968 in Stepanakert. He is non-partisan–and has received a secondary education. He was unemployed at the time of the arrest. He is married–and has two children.

5. Melkoumian Varuzhan Jumshudi was born in 1973 in Stepanakert. Also non-partisan–he has received a secondary education. He was Samvel Babayan’s bodyguard at the time of the arrest.

On March 25–the Council of Elders of Stepanakert made a resolution "on the arrest of Stepanakert’s Mayor and related problems."

In the resolution–the Council members said–"In connection with the criminal case against Stepanakert’s Mayor Karen Babayan instituted by Karabakh’s Prosecutor’s Office and the City Prosecutor’s Office–as well as guided by the Karabakh law "On local government," we rule to temporarily remove Babayan from his office until the investigation is completed–and the verdict passed by the court becomes effective."

Guided by Articles 14 and 15 of the Karabakh law "On local government" and accepting the proposal of Stepanakert’s Council of Elders–Prime Minister Anushavan Danielian signed a resolution suspending the powers of Stepanakert’s Mayor Karen Babayan until the completion of the investigation and judicial proceedings. By order of the same resolution–Ashot Sahakian was appointed Acting Mayor of Stepanakert.

Head of the Press Service of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Government David Mikaelian made a statement March 24. The statement reads:

"I consider the anxious responses of Armenia’s political forces in connection with the attempted murder of President Arkady Ghoukassian quite natural. Yerevan–which has for the last few months been in the atmosphere that resulted from the tragedy at the Armenian National Assembly on October 27–has also been shocked by the savage action committed in Stepanakert on March 22. It is also natural that the Armenian public’s attention should be riveted on the investigation started in Stepanakert and on the suspects detained in connection with the accident–for the October 27 crime not being detected has–unfortunately–resulted in an atmosphere of distrust in Armenia. Therefore–any version advanced or assessment made in connection with the terrorist act committed in Stepanakert deserves attention.

"It is natural that political forces should see different reasons for the crime. But any political force should realize its responsibility for versions advanced and assessmen’s made. We must not forget our own mistakes in the recent past–resulting in the current atmosphere of mutual distrust.

"The Karabakh leadership hopes that in this difficult time–the political forces in Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia will display composure to create an atmosphere of mutual confidence–which will allow the crime committed in Stepanakert to be detected within the shortest possible time and those guilty to be revealed. In this context–it should be noted that now–when the Investigation has not yet interrogated the first detainees–peremptory statemen’s made by some influential political forces in the press concerning the guilt or innocence of certain suspects are not quite accurate. Equally surprising is the fact that the `Unity’ bloc–which was staggeringly hasty in unequivocally qualifying the tragedy at the Armenian Parliament as a political intent of particular forces–in the person of its leader–without waiting for at least preliminary results of the investigation into the attempted murder of Arkady Ghoukassian–has assumed a position of a staunch defender of the persons whose names were not even mentioned by the law-enforcement agencies. The opinion of the `Unity’ bloc–which is a majority in Parliament–has a great influence on the public consciousness. Therefore–as far as assessmen’s are concerned–balance and restraint would be more becoming to the leader of the `Unity’ bloc–which would contribute to the disclosure of the crime committed in Stepanakert.

"As to the `Right and Unity’ bloc–its representatives once again have confirmed the truth: who pays will order music. I state the fact that the eminent public figures in Artsakh were greatly indignant at the unwise behavior of the `Right and Unity’ bloc. Although at the Parliamentary elections in Armenia thousands of voters who are natives of Artsakh cast their votes for the bloc–they were soon disappointed–realizing that the bloc defends the interests of not Artsakh but individuals residing in Artsakh–i.e. those who order music.

"It is also understandable that in `making assessmen’s’ of this heinous crime–some political forces even forgot to condemn it–restricting themselves to making statemen’s in defense of certain persons. After getting acquainted with the assessmen’s of some political forces–one will not find it difficult to answer the question: ‘Who derives benefit from it?’ I worthy to note that political parties of Artsakh have also made statemen’s. All the statemen’s condemned the crime–and none of the parties allowed itself to jump to conclusions or assume the role of law-enforcement agencies.

"It should also be noted that proceeding from the presumption of innocence–the Karabakh authorities and law-enforcement agencies have not up to now officially published the names of any of the detainees. Due to the restraint of the law-enforcement agencies–the names of the detainees were not circulated by the mass media–and nothing can serve as a ground for violating their rights or degrading them. All the actions of the law-enforcement agencies are based on the law. Let us also not forget that martial law is in effect in Artsakh. Once more we advise you to be reserved and balanced in making statemen’s–not to create additional tension interfering with the investigation. On March 25–the 72-hour term of detention expires. In accordance with the current legislation–the persons who have no connection with the crime will be released. As to persons against whom criminal proceedings have been initiated–charges will be brought against them within the time prescribed by the law".

Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Foreign Minister Naira Melkoumian received representatives of international organizations accredited to the republic on March 27.

Melkoumian introduced the officials to the preliminary results of the investigation into the March 22 assassination attempt on the Karabakh President. She said that due to the operative measures of the law-enforcement bodies and active assistance of the population–the crime was disclosed within the shortest period of time. The minister said the evidence acquired during the investigation confirmed that no external force had been behind the terrorist act.

Melkoumian thanked the representatives of foreign missions who rendered assistance to the Karabakh doctors in treating those wounded in the attack.

On March 26–Nagorno Karabakh Republic National Assembly Chairman Oleg Yesayan received members of Armenia’s National Assembly Hamlet Haroutiunian and Aghasi Arshakian–journalist Tsvetana Paskaleva and member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Kim Balayan.

The group was on a fact-finding visit to Karabakh to get acquainted with the details of the March 22 attack and the course of the investigation.

Yesayan outlined the current situation in the country’s domestic politics. He assured the guests from Armenia that Karabakh authorities had not interfered and would not interfere in the investigation. He stressed that all issues will be settled in accordance with the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Criminal Code.

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