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A former senior official of Armenian foreign ministry Murad Bojolian, who is standing trial on charges of spying for Turkey, recanted his previous testimonies, pleading innocent. Prosecutors say that during a pre-trial investigation Bojolian had admitted to spying for Turkey, but on Monday he claimed he had slandered himself because of fearing for his family members.

“The investigator accused me of betraying homeland in return for small sum of money implicating that president of Armenia may grant me pardon if I confessed my guilt and disclosed the network of Turkish spies in Armenia. They would tell me not to give the case a political coloring threatening that it would make my condition more complicated. Soon some newspapers politicized my case, noting that I was a personal interpreter for ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosian,” Bojolian said and added that national security officers were trying to break his apartment’s door following his arrest, “for investigation.” “My three children were at home and there were no guaranties that they would not arrest my wife as an accomplice and I had to ensure my family’s safety,” he said.

In his pre-trial testimonies Bojolian said that his collaboration with Turkish special service, MI, had been arranged by his cousin Murad Isler, who lives in Istanbul and “who had helped me in many occasions and I said that he was mediating between me and MIT agents. I never supposed that this would lead to a criminal case believing that no one but several investigators would know about my false ‘confession,’” he said, regretting that he had also threatened the life of his relatives in Turkey and that they might be asked by MIT to give explanations.

Bojolian said that his Istanbul-based cousin is a man committed to national ideas, “ a nation-loving man,” who has been helping local Armenian community and Armenian schools. He seemed to be sincerely regretting for involving his relatives into this case and even cried in the court room. Behind him were sitting his wife and children who also cried.

Bojolian drew the court’s attention to a fact that his “false testimony” related to 1993-2001. “When I ‘confessed’ my guilt , charges were indicted for my spying in 2000-2001, but when I refuted them, charges expanded covering 1998-2001,” he said and added that his meetings with Turkish journalists in Armenia in 1998 could be enough to accuse him of espionage, especially that a report had been received from Russia saying that they were all collaborating with MIT.

Bojolian went on to say that none of the witnesses, questioned by the court, had no connection with the case. He also denounced prosecutors for making public his previous cooperation with former Soviet KGB, which, he said, “will jeopardize his further professional activities.” “How could I learn military, political and economic secrets regarding Nagorno Karabagh and Armenia and pass them to Turkish MITA for years, being under the tough supervision of Armenian national security ministry that was eavesdropping my telephone conversations and watching my every step. I was only a spy of one country, of former USSR and I am still proud of it,” he concluded, recalling that he also collaborated with Armenian national security ministry in 1995.

By Tatoul Hakobian

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