Hampig Sassounian, who was convicted on charges of assassination of Turkish Consul in Los Angeles Kemal Arikan in 1982 and was released early, has arrived in Armenia, reported the Western United States office of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun Party.
In a message to the Armenian people, Hampig Sassounian announced on Friday that he is in Armenia, Asbarez reported.
“With the utmost happiness I am writing to you from Armenia. After almost 40 years, I have the honor to be on Armenia’s soil, drink Armenia’s water, breathe its air and feel in a familial environment,” he said.
“The support you have shown throughout the years has always encouraged me and has had a positive impact during my most difficult days.
“I want to express my deepest gratitude to all those who wrote to me, visited me and have always kept me in their hearts. Finally, I am home,” reads the message.
Sassounian has been serving a life sentence when he was convicted in 1984 for the 1982 murder of Turkish Consul General to Los Angeles Kemal Arikan. In 2002 a federal appeals court overturned a special circumstances finding in his sentence, making Sassounian eligible for parole after serving a minimum of 25 years.
On December 27, 2019, the Board of Parole Hearings found Sassounian suitable for release on parole. However, on May 25, 2020, Governor Newsom rejected the Board’s decision based on the prisoner’s crime, “outsized political import,” and that his insight was “relatively new.”
The Los Angeles County Superior Court on February 24 reversed a decision by Governor Newson who rejected the parole eligibility and application of Hampig Sassounian.
LA County Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan vacated Newsom’s decision to reject Sassounian’s parole and reinstated the California Parole Board’s decision to grant Sassounian parole.
BREAKING: HAMPIG SASSOUNIAN ARRIVES IN ARMENIA.