YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The trial of former minister of interior Vano Siradeghian continued Wednesday at the courthouse in the Malatia-Sebastia region of Yerevan with testimony presented by Vahan Harutiunian–the former commander of interior ministry forces.
In his testimony–Harutiunian–himself a defendant in the case–said that all testimony provided by him during the preliminary investigation phase was–in fact–written by him and all articles appearing in the Armenian press were also written by him–warding off speculation that he might have been coerced into giving that information.
Since 1992 until his arrest–Harutunian was the commander of the interior ministry special forces unit.
After providing testimony regarding Armen Ter-Sahakian and his group of so-called bandits–who worked within the interior ministry special forces unit–Harutiunian went on to provide revealing testimony regarding Siradeghian’s involvement in ordering assassinations and racketeering.
Harutiunian explained that in 1994–Siradeghian ordered him to "kill" parliament member Kim Balayan–saying he had transcended his limits. According to Harutunian he told Siradeghian that killing Balayan would be impossible–given his wide circle of associates. In response–Sirdaghian allegedly said that things must be done as "I’ve ordered."
Harutiunian explained that Siradeghian was upset at Balayan’s parliamentary commission inquiry into government misappropriations–since Siradeghian was also going to be named in the report.
In further testimony–Harutiunian explained that Siradeghian also ordered the killing of Deputy director of the National Security Agency Gourgen Yeghiazaryan who had announced that Siradeghian was behind the assassination attempt on Vladimir Grigorian.
Harutiunian explained that following Sirdaghian’s orders–he asked fellow defendant Movses Nercessian to stage a fake attempt on Yeghiazaryan’s life–in order to warn him of the threats to his life.
After reporting to Siradeghian that the assassination had not worked–the former minister assigned the task to the special unit of interior ministry forces–whose commander refused to carry out the order.
In conclusion–Harutiunian said that to blame all wrongdoing of the former regime on Siradeghian was misguided–adding that the prosecutor’s office must investigate carefully and bring the proper individuals to justice.