YEREVAN, September 23 (RIA Novosti) – A court sentenced an Armenian ex-presidential candidate to 14 years in prison Monday for masterminding an assassination attempt against another presidential contender in January, a court source told RIA Novosti.
Vardan Sedrakyan, an expert in epic poetry who ran in Armenia’s presidential election earlier this year, was convicted of attempting to assassinate fellow candidate and former Soviet dissident Paruyr Hayrikyan.
Two other men, Khachatur Pogosyan and Samvel Arutyunyan, were also sentenced to 14 and 12 years in prison, respectively, for working as accomplices in the attempted murder.
On January 31, Hayrikyan – a leader of the Union for National Self-Determination political party – was shot in the shoulder in central Yerevan shortly before midnight. He was hospitalized and eventually recovered fully from the attack.
A week later, Pogosyan – who had previously been convicted for drug trafficking – and Arutyunyan were arrested in connection with the shooting and confessed. Police reported that they found the pistol used in the attack at Pogosyan’s home, and that both men had previously worked for Sedrakyan.
In court, the defendants claimed that they had not been ordered to kill Hayrikyan, but only to scare him.
Sedrakyan was arrested on March 5 and charged with the attempted assassination of a public figure; on April 16, prosecutors added a charge for enlisting accomplices, which carries a sentence of possible life imprisonment. Sedrakyan pleaded not guilty and denied any involvement.
Both Sedrakyan and Kayrikyan ended up losing the race to incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan in the election on February 18.
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