ANKARA: US governor denies parole for Armenian terrorist who killed Turkish diplomat

 Daily Sabah, Turkey

US governor denies parole for Armenian terrorist who killed Turkish diplomat


California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks to reporters during a news
conference where he revealed his revised California State budget on
May 11, 2017. (AP Photo)

After pleas from Turkish American groups and officials from the Trump
administration, California Governor Jerry Brown overturned on
Wednesday a decision to parole an Armenian terrorist serving life
sentence for murdering Turkey's consul general in 1982.

According to SF Gate, a news website of the Bay Area, Gov. Brown said
on Monday that he believes Harry "Hampig" Sassounian would be "an
unreasonable danger to society if released."

Sassounian was originally sentenced to life imprisonment without
possibility of parole; however, he became eligible for parole after
admitting his guilt and formally apologizing in 2002. Previous demands
by Sassounian were rejected by a parole board in 2006, 2010, 2013 and

Describing the killing as "a deliberate, planned assassination of a
diplomat," Brown said he wasn't convinced that Sassounian regretted
his mistake and that he "was committed to peace".

Brown also cited a letter Sassounian sent from prison to an Armenian
military newspaper 5 years ago for his decision, and said it
undermined his rehabilitation efforts.

The decision was unexpected for many, for Brown has affirmed almost 82
percent of the parole board decisions --far more than any other

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Attorney General Jeff
Sessions had opposed Sassounian's release and had called the murder
"an attack on diplomacy itself." They had sent a letter to the parole
board in March to express their concerns.

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs had also condemned the
decision, saying it was based on local political dynamics and it did
not match with the spirit of fight and cooperation against terror

Back in December, the parole board had accepted the demand of
Sassounian, a terrorist from the right-wing Armenian Revolutionary
Army (ARA) terror group who killed Kemal Arıkan, Turkey's consul
general to Los Angeles, on Jan. 28, 1982.

Between 1973 and 1993, 33 Turkish diplomats, employees and families
based in the Turkish diplomatic missions abroad were murdered by
Armenian terrorist groups, with the Armenian Secret Army for the
Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) being the most infamous one. ARA,
previously known as Justice Commandos for the Armenian Genocide
(JCAG), was affiliated with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF
– Dashnaktsutyun), which is a political party dating back to the early
20th century and still operates in Armenia. These militant groups,
cooperating with each other and other terrorist groups despite
differing in ideology, were mainly based in civil-war-torn Lebanon,
from where Sassounian's family emigrated to the U.S.

Armenian terrorist groups also targeted civilians in various attacks,
including the 1982 Ankara Esenboğa Airport attack, which killed nine,
and the 1983 Paris Orly Airport attack, which killed eight.