Court of Appeal Continues Considering Gang Member Appeals

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The Criminal and Military Court of Appeal considering appeals by Armen Ter-Sahakian and others continued on October 16.

Defendant Israel Sargssian expressed his dissatisfaction with the verdict of the lower court which sentenced him to nine years of confinement–two years of them being imprisonment. Sarggssian said that a detachment legally enlisted in the Ministry of the Interior cannot be called a gang. According to him–the detachment was formed to protect state establishmen’s and officials–conduct reconnaissance in the area of military operations and serve the state–but it had no time to perform its functions. The defendant said that that legal detachment had no room at the Department of the Internal Troops: first they gathered at the office of the Armenian National Movement and later in the yard of the Department of the Internal Troops. To substantiate his statement concerning the legality of the detachment–the defendant reminded the court that he was enlisted in the detachment by the order of the then minister of the interior Vano Siradeghian.

Although the defendant said he pleaded partially guilty–he actually rejected all the charges. He stated that he had nothing in common with the murder of the chairman of the Ashtarak District Committee Hovhannes Sukiassian and with gangster attacks. He also said that the attempted murder of Vladimir Grigorian–the head of the Investigation Department of the Prosecutor’s Office of Armenia–failed because they did not want to murder him. They shot 74 bullets at Grigorian’s car to show the orderer of the assassination that they "wanted to murder Grigorian". In his turn–Ter-Sahakian stated that the gang members were issued arms and identity cards by the then commander of the Internal Troops Vahan Hovhannissian–and Artsrun Margarian was issuing assassination orders; Vahan Hovhannissian knew about those orders. In this connection–Ter-Sahakian expressed his bewilderment that he is charged with gansterism–whereas Vahan Harutiunian is not.


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