YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–One of the seven men convicted in a 1999 deadly attack on Armenia’s parliament was found dead in his prison cell at the weekend. Armenian prison authorities said they have launched an investigation to ascertain the cause of Hamlet Stepanian’s sudden death.
They did not announce any results of the inquiry as of Monday evening. Police reported no traces of foul play. Armenia Now reported that officials assume that a heart attack was the cause of death, but noted that some human rights activists cast doubts on that explanation.
Stepanian, who was found dead in his bunk, died halfway though his 14-year prison term. He was jailed for allegedly helping five gunmen burst into the National Assembly and spray it with bullets on October 27, 1999. The then Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian, parliament speaker Karen Demirchian and six other officials were killed in the shooting spree that thrust Armenia’s government into turmoil.
Vram Galstian, another of the attackers, committed suicide in his jail cell in 2004.