Misak Torlakian

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Misak Torlakian (1889 - 12 November 1968) was the assassin of Behbud Khan Javanshir, Internal Affairs Minister of Azerbaijan, in 1921. Torlakian was admitted "guilty but not responsible" due to his mental condition by the British military tribunal in November 1921.


Torlakian was born in 1892 in Trabizond, Ottoman Empire. Joining the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) at the age of 18, Torlakian succeeded in providing substantial amount of arms from a Turkish army depot in Trabizond for Armenian self-defense units.[citation needed] Tasked to obtain military intelligence during World War, Torlakian, by then a member of a Russian Army scout unit, provided valuable information about Turkish army dispositions. After the Russian withdrawal from the Turkish front in 1918, which allowed the Turks to advance unimpeded towards Yerevan, Torlakian joined Armenian army forces and participated with distinction in the battle of Bash Abaran, under the leadership of General Dro. The battle stopped the Turkish army from advancing any further. The hard-fought victory, along with others in Sardarabad and Karakilise, led to the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Armenia, (1918-1920). In 1921, Torlakian was sent by the ARF to execute Beyboud Khan Djivanshir.

He succeeded and in October 1921, the British tribunal issued a guilty verdict but ruled that he was not responsible for his actions due to his epilepsy. Torlokyan left for Greece, where he was released and left for the United States.[1]

He eventually settled in California, where he died in Montebello, California in 1968.[2] He is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in East Los Angeles.


Behbud Khan Javanshir was assassinated outside the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul in July 18, 1921. Revenge-killings were part of the "Operation Nemesis" program, which was carried out by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation proceeding the Armenian Genocide.


Trial of Misak Torlakian, an Armenian Ottoman subject, by the British Military Court, which took place at 10:00 A.M. on August 11, 1921, on the charge of murdering Binbud Khan Jivanshir, Ex-Minister of Interior of Azerbaijan. The trial of Misak Torlakian is the twin of the trial of Soghomon Tehlirian. Both trials involved the murder of a tyrant, and both of the perpetrators were found not guilty. During both trials, history, theology, philosophy, physiology, psychology, and politics were invoked by both sides to sway the Military Judge in the case ot Torlakian, and the Jury of Peers in the case of Tehlirian. Thus in addition to being landmark legal cases, these two trials reveal the prevailing mindsets and political strategies of Germans, Turks, Armenians and Azerbaijanis in the aftermath of World War I.[3]


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