Armenia reopens investigation to uncover mastermind of 1999 parliament terror attack
Armenia has reopened an investigation looking into the terrorist attack on parliament that took place over 20 years ago with the hope of discovering the mastermind behind the event.
[su_pullquote align=”right”]20 years after the attack on the Armenian parliament, its organizers remain unknown[/su_pullquote]
Eight people died as a result of shooting inside the main chamber of the National Assembly of Armenia after a group of armed terrorists broke in on October 27, 1999.
Amongst the victims was the parliamentary speaker, two vice speakers, the prime minister, three MPs and one minister.
Fifty people were taken hostage.
At the time, the group said it was committing the act to force PM Vazgen Sargsyan to resign and as they put it “to save the country from collapse.”
To this day it remains unknown who organised the attack.
Now, the Armenian Prosecutor General’s office has decided to relaunch the investigation into the matter after a complaint was lodged by Anahit Bakhshyan, the widow of Speaker Bakhshyan – one of those killed in the attack.
An unresolved mystery
Speaker Bakhshyan’s widow, herself a former MP from 2007 to 2012, asked the Prosecutor’s Office to relaunch the investigation to uncover the organisers behind the attack given that the matter was never solved.
When the news that her suit had been granted on December 25, she wrote on Facebook:
“The case [concerning the organisers], sponsors of the terrorist attack committed against the state on October 27, 1999, will be investigated again…The Republic of Armenia will be the plaintiff…will do everything to expose the enemies of our state, whether inside or out. We will closely monitor the process.”
The investigation into the organisers of the attack was closed in 2004, with the Prosecutor General noting the “absence of the members of the criminal group.”
Details and conjecture on the attack
The terrorist group burst into parliament on 27 October 1999, led by Nairi Hunanyan, and demanded direct negotiations with President Robert Kocharyan.
The negotiations took place, during which the terrorists demanded they be given a guarantee they not face capital punishment and that they be given a fair trial. Details of the conversation are still unknown.
One day later on October 28, the hostages were released and the members of the armed group arrested.
All members of the group, with the exception of one, were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Hunanyan claimed that no one was behind the attack. However, the public is skeptical.
There are a number of different accounts, many of which claim the attack was organised from abroad: some point to Russia, while others to the USA. There is also conjecture that the attack was ordered by then president Robert Kocharyan.
At least eight witnesses and perpetrators of the attack have died under mysterious circumstances.