Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian, a witness to the May 16 Erdogan-ordered attacks on peaceful protesters in Washington, DC, sharply criticized a plea agreement to drop multiple hate and bias charges against two of the assailants in return for a guilty plea and one year of imprisonment.
“A proposed one year sentence for a brutal, unapologetic foreign government directed assault against Americans on U.S. soil is an absolute travesty,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “The Erdogan-ordered attack wasn’t just a violent hate crime against Americans but an open assault on American values. This sentence, if approved by the court, will effectively serve as a green light to Erdogan and other foreign dictators intent on exporting their violence to American shores.”
Turkey Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu proudly tweeted his September jailhouse visit with Eyup Yildirim and Sinan Narin, arrested and charged for the Erdogan-ordered brutal beating of peaceful protesters in May. The tweet reads: “We visit and send the love and regards of our nation to our brothers Sinan Narin and Eyup Yildirim, who are under arrest in Washington.”
Hamparian and representatives of the Armenian Legal Center for Justice and Human Rights (ALC) were on hand at District of Columbia Superior Court when the plea deal was registered for Eyup Yildirim and Sinan Narin, two of the 19 perpetrators indicted for the brutal beatings, which included 15 members of Turkish President Erdogan’s security detail, and two Canadians, who have reportedly since repatriated to Turkey. All 19 defendants were indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, with a bias crime enhancement – charges of hate crimes – which carry a maximum 15 years prison sentence. The plea deal would remove the hate-crimes component of the charges, which have been reduced to one charge of assault.
The final sentencing, to be issued by DC Superior Court Judge Marisa Demeo, is set March 15.
ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian was videotaping live at the scene of the May 16th attack, which took place in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence where President Erdogan was scheduled to have a closed-door meeting with think tank leaders. Hamparian’s video showed pro-Erdogan forces crossing a police line and beating peaceful protesters – elderly men and several women – who were on the ground bleeding during most of the attack.