Interrogation of Witnesses in March 22 Case Continues

STEPANAKERT (Noyan Tapan)–The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Supreme Court proceed with the interrogation of witnesses in the March 22 case.

Serge Arushanian–who had occupied earlier posts of Assistant Commander of the Karabakh Defense Army for Political Affairs and Head of the State Tax Department of Karabakh–stated that he had not known anything about the plotted assassination attempt of President Arkady Ghoukassian. Testifying about the consultations of the highest officer staff at the headquarters of the Karabakh Defense Army that was held last August–Arushanian stated that he had not attended that meeting but he had heard others say that the commanders had allegedly demanded that power should be seized by force. As far as Arushanian was informed–Samvel Babayan assumed a neutral position–letting the commanders determine the manner of further action independently. Arushanian confirmed that he had learned from the others about the statement adopted at the meeting regarding the simultaneous resignation of Defense Army Commander Samvel Babayan and President Arkady Ghoukassian.

Karabakh representatives in Armenia quote witness Andranik Khachatrian–who worked at the Ojakh pavilion–confirming his testimony given during the preliminary investigation that the owner of the pavilion–now defendant Garnik Tsatrian–had warned him about the planned transportation of weapons after the delivery of the arms he helped put away. However–he did not inquire about the quantity and type of the arms.

Witness Araik Vardanian told the court that on the night of March 22–at about 3 P.M. after the attempt–David Ghulian–now one of the principal defendants–approached the Volga car of Sasun Aghajanian near the house of Samvel Babayan where Vardanian–a former bodyguard of Samvel Babayan–was sitting. Ghulian carried a Tommy gun–a submachine gun and some other covered weapons to the car. Vardanian asserted that he had not known the purpose for which Ghulian had carried the arms to the car.

Samvel Babayan’s lawyer Zhudex Shakarian presented a petition to summon Ashot Manoucharian–a public figure and politician–to the trial as a witness. In Shakarian’s opinion–the latter might help establish how far the testimony of Vardan Tashchian corresponds to facts. Vardan Tashchian says that in early March of this year Ashot Manoucharian–in the presence of Samvel Babayan–said that while talking during conversation–he stated that Tashchian either had to leave Karabakh or would be arrested.

The court satisfied the petition of the lawyer. In the afternoon–several other witnesses testified in court.

Murad Petrossian–a former deputy of the Karabakh National Assembly–who once occupied the post of Assistant Commander of the Karabakh Defense Army for Political Affairs–stressed the inadmissibility of concentration of all power in the hands of one person. Petrossian did not unveil any concrete information about the attempted assassination–stressing that he had not known anything about it.

According to Executive Director of the Mrakats production cooperative Eduard Verdian–gave Samvel Babayan money totaling 5-6 million drams for the needs of the family and paying the salaries of the bodyguards.

Arevhat Vanian–a waitress at the "Day-Dream Cocktail bar"–told the court that shortly before the terrorist act a stranger came to the bar with regular customers Erik Faramazian–David Ghulian and Varuzhan Melkoumian. According to the description of the waitress–he was very like Levon Mirzoyan–who is charged with immediate perpetration of the terrorist act–but seeing him–Vanian did not recognize him as a visitor of the bar.

Meanwhile–defendant David Ghulian confirmed that it was Levon Mirzoyan. For his part–Mirzoyan denies involvement in the terrorist act and having had contacts with the criminal group.

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