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Lengthy Jail Term Sought For Ex-Presidential Candidate


Armenia - A court hearing in the trial of three men charged in the January 31 shooting attack on presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikian, Yerevan, 20May2013.

Armenia - A court hearing in the trial of three men charged in the January 31 shooting attack on presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikian, Yerevan, 20May2013.

Trial prosecutors demanded on Monday that a former Armenian presidential candidate be sentenced to 12 years in prison for plotting to assassinate Paruyr Hayrikian, a veteran politician who also ran in the February 18 ballot.

They also demanded slightly longer prison sentences for Samvel Harutiunian and Khachatur Poghosian, the two other men arrested following the January 31 attack on Hayrikian. One of them is charged with shooting and wounding the prominent Soviet-era dissident.

According to the prosecution, they both were hired by Vartan Sedrakian, a self-styled scholar who strongly denies any involvement in the shooting. Sedrakian received a major boost to his case during the ongoing trial when the two other defendants withdrew their incriminating pre-trial testimony against him.

However, Aram Amirzadian, the main trial prosecutor, dismissed Poghosian’s and Harutiunian’s court statements as “not credible.” He insisted that Sedrakian hired the two men to “end Hayrikian’s political activities.”

In his concluding remarks at a court in Yerevan, Amirzadian also rejected Poghosian’s and Harutiunian’s claims that they did not intend to kill Hayrikian. Poghosian, the confessed shooter, declared last month that he was paid by Harutiunian to only intimidate the candidate.

Hayrikian has repeatedly called the shooting, which nearly delayed the presidential election, an attempt on his life. He claims that it was the work of “Russian imperialist forces” worried about his possible victory.

According to Armenia’s Central Election Commission, Hayrikian garnered 1.2 percent of the vote, while Sedrakian fared even worse.
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