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Armenia: Gang Leaders Given Death Sentence

Yerevan, 10 October 2002 (RFE/RL) -- A court in Armenia sentenced two men to death yesterday for leading an armed band that authorities say terrorized the country's third-largest city, killing five people, robbing homes, and racketeering. The Lori Regional Court sentenced Aram Petrosian and Akop Khachatrian to death by firing squad. However, Armenia currently has a moratorium on the death penalty, and the government is preparing to ask parliament to abolish it completely.

Another 11 members of the gang, including one woman, were given sentences ranging from one to 14 years in prison.

Prosecutors accused the band of killing five people in attacks in and around the city of Vanadzor. They were also accused of attempting to assassinate the city's police chief.