YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)During the Tuesday session of the so-called "Trial of 31," defendant Vahan Hovanessian told the court that he was refused access to his defense attorney.
The warden at the Interior and National Security Ministry prison stated that he had not received an official petition from the court in that regard–while presiding judge Davit Avedissian announced that such a petition was sent to prison officials a month ago.
According to Armenian law–a meeting between a prisoner and his counsel must be set up by a special petition by the court and its presiding judge.
Hovanessian’s attorney Hovsaness Assryan told Noyan Tapan that "[the authorities] are violating the law–Armenia’s Constitution and all international norms."
He added that judicial authorities had begun to pressure Hovanessian through such measures on Feb. 11–when the defendant told the court that the prosecution had offered him an unacceptable and secret out of court settlement.
Earlier last month–Hovanessian told the court that the prosecution had offered him a deal by which he could be free–but he responded that while there were elemen’s in that settlement offer which appealed to him personally–"the Armenian Revolutionary Federation flag was not for sale."
"Trial of 31" witness Samvel Hovsepian–a member of the "Arapo" battalion–recanted his earlier testimony where he had alleged that during a conversation with co-defendant Manuel Yeghiazarian–he was told that Yeghiazarian had contact and connections with the ARF through Hovanessian–with whose help a coup d’état was to have taken place.
He told the court that he had not provided such testimony during the preliminary investigation– however–he was forced to provide another statement–which he was currently recanting–following physical–emotional and psychological pressure from the investigators.
During the Tuesday session–five other witnesses testified that they had no information regarding an alleged forceful overthrow of the government.
Witness Angin Karapetian (defendant Gnel Hovanissian’s sister in law) told the court that her entire family was brutally beaten–for no apparent reason–by members of the Mashdots area Interior Ministry officials.
Meanwhile another witness–Marcel Mirzoyan–told the court that he was prepeared to provide the court with necessary documentation outlining all uses of government allocated artillery to the "Arapo" battalion.
Yeghiazarian’s wife refused to testify.
Hovanessian’s co-defense attorney Anahit Yessayan told the court to drop all charges against the defendants–since March 5 marked the first anniversary of the commencement of the trial and the prosecution has yet to prove any of its charges.