by Mark Buttler and Anthony Dowsley
A man convicted of a terrorist bombing in Melbourne 20 years ago can never be deported for his crime.
Levon Demirian was a key figure in the 1986 bombing of the Turkish consulate in South Yarra, in which his accomplice died.
Demirian’s Australian citizenship allowed him to avoid banishment to
his native Lebanon when his prison sentence ended. He is living in
Leaders of Australia’s Turkish community have voiced disgust that
Demirian, who was jailed in 1986, was not sent home.
His accomplice, Hapog Levonian, died when 6kg of explosives detonated
in a car park beneath the consulate building in Toorak Rd, South
Police believe many more would have died if the bomb, detonated at
night, had gone off during the day, as intended.
The consulate bombing was not the first time Demirian had come to the
attention of investigators.
In 1980 he was questioned over the assassination of Turkish
consul-general Sarik Artyak and his bodyguard in Sydney. They died in
a hail of machinegun bullets fired by the pillion passenger of a
Demirian, 54, was originally sentenced to a minimum of 25 years’ jail
for Levonian’s murder, but that was later quashed.
The appeal court found a conspiracy charge proved and reduced his
sentence to 10 years after pointing out that Demirian, who migrated
to Australia in the 1970s, could be deported upon release.
The appeal judges said the crime’s seriousness was compounded by
Demirian’s abuse of the sanctuary offered him by Australia.
At one time, Demirian was rated the highest security risk in the
Levonian and Demirian were allegedly motivated by the genocide of
Armenians in 1915.
Interviewed in Sydney, Demirian said the bombing was a long time ago
and he wanted it left in the past.
Denouncing terrorism, he said: “Something happened that I was
convicted of and I’m forgetting about it. I don’t want to bring that
Herald Sun (Australia)
July 6, 2006 Thursday