By Armen Zakarian
Relatives of officials killed in the 1999 attack on the parliament made on Monday another attempt to have jailed ringleader Nairi Hunanian moved from the high security prison of the Armenian ministry of national security, again pointing to his alleged links with the former KGB.
A similar request filed by a special parliamentary commission overseeing the criminal investigation into the shootings was rejected by the presiding judge, Samvel Uzunian, late last month. Uzunian is to reply to the petition submitted by lawyers representing families of the attack victims by next Monday.
Oleg Yunishev, a Moscow lawyer representing interests of the family of the late prime minister Vazgen Sarkisian, said Hunanian should be transferred to the interior ministry jail in Yerevan’s Nubarashen district, alleging that the ex-KGB may be instructing him to withhold the truth about all circumstances of the killings.
But Hunanian, who claims to have been beaten in pre-trial detention, urged the judge to turn down the petition, arguing that his life would in jeopardy at Nubarashen. He strongly denied having collaborated with the national security ministry in the past.
One of the defense lawyers warned that sending Hunanian and the four other gunmen to Nubarashen would be tantamount to “sending them to the scaffold,” citing widespread human rights abuses allegedly committed in the prison.