RACINE–More than $1,300 was raised on February 3 at a fund-raiser held by the Racine ‘Marzbed’ ARF chapter for the Hampig Sassounian Defense Committee (SDC). The fund-raiser is one of many events being held by ARF chapter’s in the United States–and will culminate in a banquet being organized by the Sassounian Defense Committee on February 22–in Pasadena.
Zohrab Khaligian–representing the ‘Marzbed’ ARF chapter–explained that Sassounian has spent the last 20 years of his life in prison after being unjustly convicted for the homicide of Kemal Arikan–the Turkish Consul General in Los Angeles. Hampig’s original trial was full of controversy–irregularities–and charges of prosecutorial misconduct–which resulted in a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. In 2000–a court of appeals modified Hampig’s sentence to allow for the possibility of parole–but on September 12–2001–the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced their decision to retry Hampig’s case in order to reverse the court of appeals decision.
"All proceeds from today’s lunch will be sent to the Sassounian Defense Committee to assist in what we hope will be Hampig’s release from prison," stated Khaligian. Fifty letters were also signed and sent to Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley imploring him to reverse his decision to retry Hampig Sassounian.