By Karine Kalantarian
Relatives of the victims of the 1999 parliament carnage demanding the transfer of the arrested gunmen to another jail on Friday received the unlikely support of a key defendant in the ongoing trial. In a sudden change of mind, one of the five parliament gunmen, Karen Hunanian, demanded that he be moved to the main interior ministry prison in south Yerevan.
Hunanian said he has heard guards at the detention center of the national security ministry threaten his and his older brother Nairi Hunanian’s life. The man who shot dead Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian gave no details, leaving the trial participants puzzled. As recently as last week he, like his brother, spoke out against the relatives’ calls for their relocation.
A petition to that effect filed by the lawyer representing the Sarkisian family, Oleg Yunoshev, was turned down on Monday by Samvel Uzunian, the presiding judge. Uzunian ruled that there is no evidence of the alleged links between the national security ministry and the leader of the gunmen, Nairi Hunanian.
The ringleader was visibly upset with his brother’s surprise behavior, trying at several points to stop him talking.