ANCA blasts reduced charges in Turkish embassy attack plea bargain

ANCA blasts reduced charges in Turkish embassy attack plea bargain

PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian, a witness to the May 16 attacks on peaceful protesters in Washington D.C., sharply criticized a plea agreement to drop multiple hate and bias charges against two of the assailants in return for a guilty plea and one year of imprisonment, The Armenian Weekly reports.

“A proposed one-year sentence for a brutal, unapologetic foreign-government-directed assault against Americans on U.S. soil is an absolute travesty,” said Hamparian. “The [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan-ordered attack wasn’t just a violent hate crime against Americans but an open assault on American values. This sentence, if approved by the court, will effectively serve as a green light to Erdoğan and other foreign dictators intent on exporting their violence to American shores.”

Hamparian and representatives of the Armenian Legal Center for Justice and Human Rights (ALC) were on hand at District of Columbia Superior Court when the plea deal was registered for Eyup Yildirim and Sinan Narin, two of the 19 perpetrators indicted for the brutal beatings, which included 15 members of Turkish President Erdogan’s security detail, and two Canadians, who have reportedly since repatriated to Turkey. All 19 defendants were indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, with a bias crime enhancement—charges of hate crimes—which carry a maximum 15 years prison sentence. The plea deal would remove the hate-crimes component of the charges, which have been reduced to one charge of assault.

The final sentencing, to be issued by D.C. Superior Court Judge Marisa Demeo, is set for March 15, 2018.

Hamparian was videotaping live at the scene of the May 16 attack, which took place in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence, where President Erdoğan was scheduled to have a closed-door meeting with think tank leaders. Hamparian’s video showed pro-Erdoğan forces crossing a police line and beating peaceful protesters—elderly men and several women—who were on the ground bleeding during most of the attack.

On June 6, with a vote of 397 to 0, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously condemned Turkey in response to the attacks, taking a powerful stand against Ankara’s attempts to export its violence and intolerance to America’s shores.

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