On 28th January 1982…

Two Armenian gunmen assassinate Turkish Consul General, Kemal Arikan, in his automobile while he waits at an intersection. The Justice Commandos of Armenian Genocide (JCAG) claims responsibility. One of the assassins, Hampig Sassounian, a 19-year-old Armenian American member of the JCAG is arrested shortly thereafter. Sassounian’s father states on public television, “I am glad that a Turk was killed, but my son did not do it.”

Sassounian’s accomplice, believed to be Krikor Saliba, escapes to Beirut, where Armenian terrorists are trained by the PLO. Los Angeles police search Sassounian’s automobile, seizing a .357 caliber bullet and a one-way airline ticket from Los Angeles to Beirut. Police also search Sassounian’s home, where they seize a gun receipt, pistol targets, and a manifesto of “The Armenian Youth Federation”, a division of the Armenian National Committee of America.

The Court convicts Sassounian of first-degree murder and sentences him to life imprisonment. Sassounian’s sentence is later changed to 25 years-to-life in an appeal agreement in which he confesses to the killing. Sassounian’s parole has been twice denied, as he prepares to seek parole again next year. Our sister organisation Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) has appeared at all parole hearings in the form of a Victims Impact Statement, and will continue to oppose parole to make sure terrorism is punished, justice is served, and the Arikan family and all Turkish Americans are safe from terrorism and hate crimes by radicals in the Armenian American community.

ATA-A condemns these acts of violence against innocent individuals and remembers these tragedies with great sorrow and deliberation to bring the perpetrators and their supporters to justice.