By Ruzanna Khachatrian
A parliamentary commission overseeing judicial proceedings into the 1999 assassinations on Wednesday asked a Yerevan court to relocate jailed ringleader Nairi Hunanian to another prison, giving more weight to allegations that the case is mishandled by the authorities.
In a petition to judge Samvel Uzunian presiding over the ongoing trial of parliament attack suspects, the multi-party panel said Hunanian’s presence in the detention site of the Armenian ministry of national security is “inexpedient” given his past cooperation with the former KGB.
Hunanian has said in his court testimony that he first came into contact with national security ministry officers in late 1998, agreeing to provide them with intelligence reports about his journalistic trips to Turkey. His most recent series of televised reports on Turkey were aired by Armenian state television in early 1999, several months before the bloody raid on the National Assembly.
Hunanian’s collaboration with the ex-KGB has been confirmed by military prosecutors investigating the parliament shootings. But they have made no indication yet that this fact could be linked to the 35-year-old former journalist’s decision to storm the assembly.
Political allies of former prime minister Vazgen Sarkisian, parliament speaker Karen Demirchian and other officials killed in the shooting spree have alleged that Hunanian and the four members of his gang could be secretly instructed by some governing circles to mislead the court.
The commission set up late last month is to investigate allegations that some individuals have unauthorized access to the defendants. It called on judge Uzunian to order Hunanian’s transfer to the interior ministry jail in Yerevan.
Meanwhile, court hearings in the Hunanian trial continued on Wednesday, with state prosecutors cross-examining the gunmen. Most of their questions dealt with Hunanian’s childhood and adolescence.