Babayan Charged With and Accepts Plotting Coup

STEPANAKERT (Noyan Tapan)–Nagorno Karabakh Republic Prosecutor General Mavrik Ghoukassian called a press conference in Stepanakert on April 4 to focus on the charges over the March 22 assassination attempt recently brought against Samvel Babayan–Karabakh’s ex-minister of defense.

The investigation had revealed sufficient evidence to charge Samvel Babayan with the plotting of the assassination–the prosecutor said.

Following last December’s decree of Ghoukassian relieving Samvel Babayan of his post as Karabakh Defense Army Commander–the general–seeking to regain power and prove his that he was irreplaceable–in January-February 2000 decided to organize a terrorist act against the president to shatter and weaken the government.

Babayan tasked the chief of his guards–Sasun Aghajanian–the former commander of military unit #39189 of the Karabakh Defense Army–to set up a group to carry out the plan. The group included the ex-minister’s bodyguards David Gulian and Varuzhan Melkoumian–Babayan’s wife’s brother–Eric Faramazian–and his friend Levon Mirzoyan.

To carry out Babayan’s assignment–the group members armed themselves with guns once stolen by Sasun Aghajanian from the mentioned military unit (two sub-machine-guns of AKMS and AKM types)–one sub-machine-gun of AKM type possessed by David Gulian and means of communication. The weapons were hidden at Eric Faramazian’s home.

Following Samvel Babayan’s instructions–the members of the criminal group periodically watched Ghoukassian’s movemen’s in February-March 2000. They divided roles among themselves: Sasun Aghajanian–Levon Mirzoyan and David Gulian–armed with sub-machine-guns–were to assassinate the president–Eric Farmazian was to watch the president leave his residence and report the target to the perpetrators–Varuzhan Melkoumian was to make sure the group leaves the scene of the crime unnoticed.

The functions were later reapportioned; Melkoumian’s position was trusted to Gulian.

In late February and early March–the criminal group twice made attempts to kill the president. The first attempt failed because of a communication failure; Faramazian was not given a sign to launch the attack. The second attempt failed because the president was escorted by the interior minister and his security guards.

Another attempt was launched on March 22 following Babayan’s insistent deman’s. On March 22–at 12:30 a.m.–near the "Oasis" cafe in Yerevanian central avenue–Sasun Aghajanian and Levon Mirzoyan–masked and armed with sub-machine-guns–upon receiving a signal from Eric Faramazian–opened fire on the presidential "Mercedes" approaching the crossroads–shooting 60 bullets. Sure of the president’s death–Sasun Aghajanian and Levon Mirzoyan took to flight–heading for the central market-place of Stepanakert–where a car driven by David Gulian was waiting for them. They got into the car and escaped.

Thus–Samvel Babayan–according to Mavrik Ghoukassian–organized the terrorist act and an attempt of premeditated murder with aggravating circumstances. Also considering the crimes connected with the stealing of weapons–use of official weapons for criminal purposes–he was charged on the following counts of the Criminal Code of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic: 17–15/61 (part 1)–17–15 part 90–points 3–4–6–part 1 of count 232–part 1 of count 232/3. Guided by counts 135 and 136 of the Criminal Code–on April 3–2000–Samvel Babayan was charged on the foregoing counts.

The prosecutor general stated that on April 3–while being interrogated–Samvel Babayan owned up and admitted his guilt on all counts. All participants in the terrorist act named Samvel Babayan as the plotter.

Mavrik Ghoukassian categorically denied reports alleging violence against the persons under investigation. According to the prosecutor general–the terrorist act was committed for coup d’etat purposes. There are documen’s evidencing that in the case of a successful outcome of the attack the criminals intended to form a provisional military government in Nagorno Karabakh.

The investigation is still continuing and the case will soon be sent to court. Samvel Babayan–according to the prosecutor general–was provided with a lawyer whom he had chosen himself.

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