11 Witnesses Testify in Babayan Trial

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s Supreme Court continued interrogating witnesses in the Babayan trial last Friday.

Arkady Soghomonian–a former parliament member who was known to be seeking the president’s resignation–said he had met Babayan three times at Babayan’s request. Soghomonian and Babayan are said to have discussed internal politics among other topics during their meetings.

During the interrogation–Soghomonian said that he had always had a good attitude toward the former commander-in-chief of the Karabakh Defense Army [Samvel Babayan]. He explained his behavior and the behavior of his fellow-parliamentarians who had demanded the president’s resignation by the desire to pacify the tension that had originated in the wake of the stand-off. Asked to assess the actions of the Karabakh President–who had removed the minister of defense from his post–Soghomonian–who was among the parliament minority loyal to Babayan–acknowledged that the president has the right to appoint and dismiss any member of the government.

A number of former and active servicemen of the Karabakh Defense Army told the court that last December–on the eve of Samvel Babayan’s resignation as Defense Army Commander-in-Chief–the latter held consultations at the Ministry of Defense focusing on the internal political situation in the republic–his possible return to big politics and the incident that had occurred between him [Babayan] and the republic’s new Prime Minister Anushavan Danielian. Methods of exerting influence on the President Ghoukassian was also a subject of discussion during that meeting.

A total of 11 witnesses testified in court last Friday.

Ashot Manoucharian–Political Secretary of the Union of Socialist Forces & Intellectuals of Armenia–testified in the Babayan trial on Monday. Manoucharian had been summoned to court upon Babayan’s request.

In his preliminary testimony to the court Babayan asserted that while once talking to Ashot Manoucharian–Ghoukassian allegedly said that citizen of Lebanon Vardan Tashchian–now one of the defendants–either had to leave Karabakh or be placed under arrest. Testifying in court–Manoucharian disproved the testimony of Samvel Babayan–stressing that during the talk with the president they spoke not about arrest but only about eviction of Vardan Tashchian from the Karabakh–if he did not stop his vigorous political activities. According to Manoucharian–Ghoukassian explained it by the fact that as a citizen of another state–Tashchian had no right to meddle in political processes and carry out active propaganda. Manoucharian called the deman’s set to Tashchian quite legitimate. Tashchian also disproved Babayan’s testimony regarding arrest.

Lawyers Shakarian and Chinarian–who defend the interests of Babayan and his brother-in-law E. Faramazian at the trial–asked the court to allow them to get acquainted with the testimony of the witnesses who had been interrogated in their absence. The court satisfied that petition.

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