Armenia’s Supreme Court on December 10 sentenced three alleged terrorists to death and eight others to prison terms ranging from 3 to 15 years. One other defendant died under suspicious circumstances in detention during the trial, which lasted a year and a half. The defendants were accused of being members in a secret cell — "Dro" — comprised of assassins and drug-traffickers operating for the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaksutyun. The sentences are appealable within seven days. A parallel trial of another 31 similarly charged defendants is still in progress. (Noyan-Tapan, Interfax, Western agencies, December 10-11)
Both cases have been criticized as juridical flawed, displaying elements of political show trials, and designed to justify the authorities’ ban on the ARF, the main opposition party. That ban was imposed after President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s December 1994 speech that linked "Dro" to the ARF and signaled the government’s turn to authoritarian methods. On the other hand, post-Soviet Armenia is not known to have carried out any death sentences handed down by the courts.
Tajik Ceasefire Signed.