Physical Altercation in Karabakh Court

STEPANAKERT (Noyan Tapan)–The trial in connection with the case of the assassination attempt on the Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian resumed in Stepanakert on December 25. After the interrogation of the defendants began–the attorney for Samvel Babayan–Judex Shakarian–interrupted the proceedings in order to present a petition. He was denied permission and the trial continued–wherein the judge stated that the lawyer had repeatedly violated the law–abusing his power–and was doing everything to hamper the normal course of the trial.

Soon after the break–the relatives of some defendants addressed the court with a request to take appropriate measures against the attorneys–particularly Judex Shakarian–who they believed was creating artificial obstacles in the trial. The address was supported by the representatives of the victims and by several defendants. Victims Samvel Gabrielian and Sergei Sargsian–as well as defendants David Ghulian–Varouzhan Melkoumian–Khachatur Petrosian and Ararat Musaelian demanded the continuation of the trial–noting that the main culprit and organizer of the crime was known to be Samvel Babayan. Following a physical altercation between the two sides–the trial was stopped.

As a result–only two brothers–Garnik and Valery Tsatourians–were interrogated during the December 25 session. Defendant Sasoun Aghajanian–who had been silent during the early stages of the trial finally gave testimony regarding the illegal removal of arms from the military unit under his command. Aghajanian rejected Garnik Tsatourian’s testimony–claiming that it was Tsatourian who had ordered the arms to be delivered to the latter’s native village.

As per the request of Samvel Babayan–the court decided to postpone the trial until December 26–because of Babayan’s poor health.

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