Ankara rebukes release of Turkish diplomat’s murderer in US
The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Dec. 28 condemned a U.S. court decision to release the assassin of a Turkish diplomat, who was murdered in Los Angeles in 1982.
“We regret that Hampig Sassounian, the terrorist who assassinated Mr. Kemal Arıkan, the Turkish consul-general in a heinous attack on Jan. 28, 1982, has been granted parole during the hearing held in California on Dec. 27 despite our attempts,” said the ministry.
“We strongly condemn and reject this decision which is subject to the approval of the Governor of California and is open to appeal. This decision paving the way for the release of the murderer of our martyred diplomat is not only against universal principles of law and justice, but also contradicts the spirit of cooperation in the fight against terrorism,” it added.
The California Board of Parole Hearings on June 29 denied Hampig “Harry” Sassounian’s request for release on parole from San Quentin State Prison, where his is serving a life sentence for the 1982 murder.
On Jan. 28, 1982, Sassounian assassinated Arıkan as the consul-general sat in his car at an intersection in Los Angeles, waiting at a traffic signal.
Sassounian belonged to the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide (JCAG), which operated from the beginning of 1975 until the 1983 and targeted Turkish diplomats in the United States and European countries.
“Turkey, which has lost 58 lives as victims of Armenian terrorism, 31 of who were diplomats, will resort to all legal means to prevent the entry into effect of this troubling decision,” said the ministry.