No: 322, 15 December 2016, Press Release Regarding the Decision to Grant Parole to Hampig Sassounian Who Assasinated Consul-General of Turkey in Los Angeles, Kemal Arıkan

We regret that Hampig Sassounian, who assassinated Mr Kemal Arıkan, the Turkish Consul-General in a heinous attack on January 28, 1982 has been granted parole as a result of a parole hearing held on December 14, 2016 in California. We strongly denounce and reject this decision which is subject to the approval of the Governor of California and will be open to appeal.

This unfortunate decision, which is based on local political dynamics instead of universal principles of justice, is not only unjust but also does not comply with the spirit of cooperation and the fight against terrorism. In order to rectify this mistake before it is finalized, we expect that the US authorities lodge an appeal and the release of Sassounian be averted.

During the trial, it was established without any doubt that Sassounian, had acted knowingly and deliberately, and had murdered Consul-General Arıkan in coldblood simply because he was a Turkish national. Sassounian, throughout his incarceration, has not shown any remorse for the crime he committed, but also has continued to glorify the distorted ideology which drove him into this terrorist act.

It is clear that the release of terrorist Sassounian, will first and foremost hurt deeply the family of our martyred diplomat, as well as the Turkish nationals, and will also lead to public indignation.

Consul-General Arıkan was a victim of a terrorist mindset targeting not only him but all Turkish diplomats who strive to serve their country. The pertinent US authorities, who suffered similar losses and with whom we cooperate on counter-terrorism, need to assess the gravity and delicacy of the matter thoroughly, as well as what the finalization of the decision would stand for.

We hereby remember with respect and gratitude our martyred diplomat Kemal Arıkan and all our martyres who fell victim to terrorism.