By Armen Zakarian
Nairi Hunanian, the jailed leader of gunmen that burst into the Armenian parliament in October 1999, on Monday called on the leadership of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) to reinstate him as a member of the nationalist party. In what appeared to be a bizarre public relations stunt, Hunanian asked Dashnaktsutyun’s governing Bureau to “reconsider” his expulsion from the party in November 1992.
The decision was taken at the time by the Dashnak central committee in Armenia, which accused the then journalist of misappropriating party funds. Hunanian has always denied any wrongdoing. He claimed on Monday that the ouster was “unfounded.”
The surprise remarks were made during the ringleader’s further cross-examination in the court by lawyers representing families of the victims of the parliament massacre. Hunanian refused to comment on their relevance to the continuing trial of the five gunmen and their alleged accomplices.
He has insisted all along that he was the only mastermind of the attack which left eight people, including Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian, dead.