A U.S. court has made a decision to release Hampig “Harry” Sassounian, who assassinated a Turkish diplomat in Los Angeles in 1982. The decision is yet to be approved by the Governor of California.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has issued a statement condemning the parole.
The California Board of Parole Hearings on June 29 had denied Hampig “Harry” Sassounian’s request for release on parole from San Quentin State Prison, where his is serving a life sentence for the 1982 murder.
Sentenced to life in prison, Sassounian had been repeatedly denied parole until December 2016, when the state Board of Parole Hearings recommended his release from San Quentin.
The board said Sassounian, traumatized by horrific warfare in his native Lebanon as a child, had accepted responsibility for his crime, shown remorse, and participated in numerous treatment and job-training programs in prison.
Hampig “Harry” Sassounian was 19 when he and a companion, who has not been caught, shot and killed Kemal Arikan as the consul sat in his car at an intersection in the Westwood area of Los Angeles.
A group called the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide, to which Sassounian belonged, called a news service shortly afterward and claimed responsibility for the shooting, and other killings of Turkish diplomats, “to demand justice for genocidal crime in Turkey in 1915.”