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Armenia: Intellectuals Call For Opposition Activist's Release

Yerevan, 27 August 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Leading Armenian intellectuals, scientists and journalists have appealed to President Levon Ter-Petrossyan to pardon Hrant Markaryan, a key opposition figure and veteran of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

Markaryan is currently serving a five-year prison term after being convicted last December of illegal possession of arms. Markaryan was arrested in December, 1994, along with other members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (the Dashnak party) on charges of organizing a terrorist group named Dro. The charges of terrorism against Markaryan were subsequently dropped for lack of evidence.

Among the signatories of yesterday's appeal are the editors of all pro-government newspapers, the director of Armenian state TV, the commander of the pro-government volunteer militia and the chairman of the Writers' Union of Armenia.

Editors of pro-government and opposition newspapers addressed a similar plea for clemency for Markaryan to the President a month ago.