YPC Weekly Newsletter

2003


THE CASE OF TIGRAN NAGHDALIAN’S MURDER: EXAMINATIONS OF THIRTEEN DEFENDANTS FINISHED

The court of primary jurisdiction of Center and Nork-Marash communities of Yerevan continues the hearings on the murder of Tigran Naghdalian, the Chairman of the Council of RA Public TV and Radio Company, committed on December 28, 2002 (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, October 3-9, 2003). At the sessions of October 17 and 20 issues related to the defense of Armen Sargsian (charged as the main orderer of the crime) were discussed. In particular, the petition of the defendant that his interests should again be protected by the attorney Robert Grigorian was secured. Besides, for Armen Sargsian the testimony of the six key defendants was read (by the decision of the court their interrogations were held in the absence of Sargsian). On October 21 Armen Sargsian was to pose questions to them; however the session was postponed due to the sickness of the defendant. The next day – October 22 – on behalf of the defendant the attorneys of Sargsian voiced the question to John Harutiunian (charged with the direct execution of the crime) and Felix Arustamian (charged as an accomplice), who confirmed their earlier evidence, saying also that during the preparation and the execution of the crime they only dealt with Gegham Shakhbazian (charged with accomplicity and illegal storage of arms). The session of October 23 started with questions of Sargsian and his attorneys to Gegham Shakhbazian, Leva Harutiunian (charged with concealment of the crime), Grigor Petrosian and Hovhannes Harutiunian (charged with accomplicity and illegal storage of arms). Confirming their testimony, Shakhbazian and the Harutiunians refused to answer the questions. Further the court started the examination of Armen Sargsian, who, too, refused from answering the questions, but confirmed the testimony given to the preliminary investigation bodies on March 20, 2003. According to this testimony, Armen Sargsian gave Hovhannes Harutiunian 000. Sargsian says that he lent 000 to Harutiunian to pay the custom duties on cars. The remaining amount was given to Hovhannes Harutiunian, maintaining that if he does not pay the killers of Tigran Naghdalian, they threaten to kill him and the Sargsian family. On the session of October 24 the video shooting of Armen Sargsian’s interrogation on March 20 was shown. Then he answered the questions of the prosecution, stressing that he paid to ensure the safety of his family. On the same day, the court examined two other defendants – Samvel Abrahamian and Samvel Harutiunian (charged with concealment of the crime and illegal arm storage), who confessed they knew about the crime committed by John Harutiunian and were hiding the instrument of crime.

On the session of October 29 the court heard the testimony of the remaining four of the thirteen defendants on the murder of Tigran Naghdalian – Khachik Ahaginian, Nshan Muradian, Rafik Melkonian (charged with concealment of the crime) and Armen Manasian (charged with illegal storage of arms). Unlike the other defendants under arrest, the latter three had another preventive punishment – obligation not to leave the place of the permanent residence. Nshan Muradian and Rafik Melkonian are charged with concealment of their relative Hovhannes Harutiunian, when he was announced wanted. Khachik Ahaginian is accused of being a messenger between Hovhannes Harutiunian, his first cousin and his wife, at that time.

Thus, the court finished the interrogation of all defendants. Further on the testimony of the witnesses on the case will be heard.