Babayan Trial Sentencing to Be Announced

STEPANAKERT (NKR News)–On February 14–defendant Samvel Babayan’s attorney Zhoudex Shakarian said he considered discrepant the testimonies of defendants David Ghulian–Varouzhan Melkoumian–Eric Pharamazian–Khachatour Petrosian and Sasoun Aghajanian who testified to the implication of the former minister of defense of Nagorno-Karabakh in the March 22 assassination attempt on Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukasian.

Shakarian asked the court to pass a sentence based not only on the confession testimonies made by Samvel Babayan on April 3–2000 in the course of the preliminary investigation. Zhoudex Shakarian also introduced a petition on ceasing the criminal case in the part concerning the organization of the terrorist act–and to return the materials on the embezzlement of arms for supplementary examination.

Defendants Vardan Taschian–Armen Mousayelian and Gagik Aharonian–who had renounced the right to attorneys since the start of the trial–did not make use of their right to a protective speech–expressing confidence in the objectivity of justice. Gagik Aharonian asked the court to take into account the fact that he had not participated in the criminal collusion with the participants of the assassination–and was not guided by selfish ends.

Later–state prosecutors Raisa Igoshkina and Vahram Avakian insisted on qualifying the assassination attempt on the NKR President as a terrorist act and state crime–and demanded no change in the punishment mentioned in the prosecutor’s speech of indictment.

In the second half of the session Court Chairman Souren Alexanian announced the cessation of the pleadings and gave the defendants the right of their conclusive speech. The court decided to announce a minimum 10-day break to prepare the sentence text.

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