of Sargsyan expressed their displeasure..
Armenia's Court of Appeal has upheld a lower-court
decision that found Armen Sargsyan guilty of conspiracy
to commit murder in the case of the chairman of
Armenian Public Television Tigran Naghdalyan.
Sargsyan is sentenced to 15 years in prison for
his role in the murder which took place December
Sargsyan, brother of slain Prime Minister Vazgen
Sargsyan, has maintained his innocence, and was
supported by onlookers in court, who sat down
in protest while the verdict was read.
As the verdict was being read, members of the
oppositional Hanrapetutiun party shouted "It's
a lie", before sitting in protest.
"One must stand when the verdict is read,"
a judge said, interrupting the reading of the
verdict and addressing Sargsyan's supporters.
"You have no right to speak on behalf of
the Republic of Armenia. One must stand only when
the legal verdict is read," they replied.
In an extremely strained and fully-packed courtroom,
emotions spilled over into accusations.
"The judicial power of the country is under
direct influence of authorities and our legislation
permits that," says Zaruhi Postanjyan, attorney
for Felix Arustamyan, one of five defendants in
As with the first verdict, neither side left
Naghdalyan's legal beneficiary Karine Naghdalyan
again complained that sentences were too lenient.
In restating his innocence, Sargsyan told the
court that when on March 7, 2003 he was invited
to the Prosecutor's Office as a witness, by that
time prosecutors had already had all evidence
necessary for his arrest. However, they didn't
arrest him that day (he was arrested on March
15) and set him free giving him his passport so
that he could have left Armenia.
"It wouldn't be difficult for me to leave
the country as I have Schengen visa in my passport,"
Sargsyan also challenged the court ruling, claiming
that he was convicted on the testimony of a relative,
Hovhannes Harutyunyan, who "contradicted
himself 123 times."
One defendant, John Harutyunyan, lashed out at
Karine Naghdalyan's accusation that people who
killed her brother were "traitors".
She has maintained that the men responsible for
Tigran Naghdalyan's death were treated softly
because they are veterans of the Karabakh war.
"Karine Naghdalyan uses the word 'traitor'
very often. I am not a traitor," Harutyunyan
said. "Just the contrary, I killed a traitor.
I killed him humanely, the murder was not committed
cruelly. The money that was earned at the expense
of blood, I divided among men who were shedding
blood in Karabakh when her brother was driving
a Jeep and having fun."
Sargsyan's brother, Aram Sargsyan, leader of
the Hanrapetutiun party joined the rhetoric claiming
that his brother's verdict was politically motivated.
"We tried to prove that Armen Sargsyan
is innocent and we did that in two courts while
authorities, having influence on prosecutor's
office, judges and even some defendants, cannot
prove the opposite," Aram Sargsyan said.