By Karine Kalantarian
Military prosecutors investigating the October 1999 assault on the Armenian parliament indicated on Friday that they might relaunch criminal proceedings against two former suspects. They said the year-long trial of the five parliament gunmen has brought to light new facts that could be used against pollster and former journalist Nairi Badalian and former police officer Armen Harutiunian.
Badalian had spent several months in detention before being cleared in June 2000 of the charges of complicity in the assassination of former prime minister Vazgen Sarkisian, parliament speaker Karen Demirchian and six other officials. Harutiunian, who faced similar charges, was released from jail last July under a general amnesty declared by the authorities.
Both men were close to Nairi Hunanian, the jailed ringleader and key defendant in the ongoing trial. Badalian has denied any responsibility for the killings. He says he was badly mistreated in custody by law-enforcement officers.
The chief prosecutor at the trial, Hakob Martirosian, said: “Facts revealed during the court hearings are noteworthy. It is possible that they will be invited for further interrogations.”
Martirosian made the comments after the presiding judge, Samvel Uzunian, announced that the head of the inquiry, Chief Military Prosecutor Gagik Jahangirian, has requested transcripts of court testimonies regarding the two former suspects.
Meanwhile, Hunanian on Friday accused the prosecution of deliberately dragging out the court proceedings as part of a “conspiracy” against President Robert Kocharian. He claimed that he will not answer any questions in the court for the rest of the trial.