YEREVAN (Yerevan News Agency)"All criminal proceedings initiated in connection with the September 25 events are political in nature," National Democratic Union Executive member Vladimir Hakhverdian told a news conference Tuesday.
He stressed there were numerous procedural violations in the investigation process–and did not rule out the possibility of further violations during the actual trial. He asserted that all cases should be considered political cases–and as such receive the due legal assessment.
Attorneys for the five defendants in the "Sept. 25" case–Marina Galabian–Gayane Antonian and Anahit Yessayan–said that attempts were made to dismiss them from the case–citing their counsel in the "Trial of 31" case as an obstacle in simultaneously representing defendants in the "Sept. 25" case.
Galabian stated that it would technically be impossible to convene the two trials at the same time–explaining that the Supreme Court had worked out schedules which prevent such occurrences.
"It is surprising that this established principle is being ignored," Galabian said referring to a court modus operandi which prevents courtroom schedule conflicts.
"Everything is being done to neutralize all `undesirable’ attorneys," stated Galabian–explaining that pressing criminal charges against four of many opposition protesters who are still in jail awaiting similar charges–was the state’s way of dividing the group to diversify the focus from those proceedings–since they were afraid that the real truth would emerge if there were only one trial.
The attorneys–having conferred with presiding judge Hovaness Ghoukassian–were given the impression that the "Sept. 25" case would go to trial at the end of February–however court proceedings have already begun in the case.
This–Galabian explained–came as a result of discussion in Armenia’s National Assembly regarding the Sept. 25 events–and the persistence of some deputies for a quick solution to the matter.
Attorney Anahid Yessayan announced that similar incidents had occurred with the so-called "Dro" and "Trial of 31" cases–where attorneys Rouben Rshtouni–Rouben Sahakian and Hrant Khatcharian were denied the right to represent the accused because they were considered "undesirable" elemen’s.
Yessayan also proved that in the past months there was only one instance where the so-called "Dro" and "Trial of 31" court proceedings had coincided.
At the onset of the press conference–Hakhverdian announced that certain entities operating within the "Trial of 31" circles had petitioned for his removal as a public defender.
At the same time Armenia’s Intellectuals’ Union had also petitioned the court to strip Vahan Hovanessian’s public defender Bagrat Yessayan of his title.
Hakhverdian stated that this latest tactic was nothing but a ploy to further delay the trial.
At the conclusion of the press conference all attorneys pledged they would continue their work as counsel with the "Sept. 25" case–despite efforts to halt their participation.