Varoujan Garabedian

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Varoujan Garabedian
Վարուժան Կարապետեան
Born (1954-03-07)March 7, 1954
Kamishli, Syria
Residence Yerevan, Armenia
Criminal charge Terrorist attack
Criminal penalty Convicted on terrorism charges
Criminal status Pardoned by French authorities, deported to Armenia
Motive Revenge

Varoujan Garabedian (Armenian: Վարուժան Կարապետեան, also Varadjian Garbidjian) is a former member of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA).[1][2]


He was born in 1954 in Kamishli, Syria, into a family of Armenian refugees from the Armenian Genocide.

Confession to Orly airport attack[edit]

After the July 15, 1983 bombing of a Turkish Airlines check-in desk at Orly airport, Paris, the French police raided ASALA strongholds, confiscating arms and detaining 50 Armenians believed to have links to the ASALA.[3] One of the arrested, Garabedian, confessed to being a leader of ASALA in France and planting the bomb at the Orly airport,[4] which killed 8 people.[1]


Four of the victims were French, two were Turkish, one was American, and one was Swedish.[5] Among the dead there was at least one woman, Jacqueline Kirschner, whose 19-year-old son was instantly killed by the blast,[6] as well as a young French citizen, François Luc, as reported by Associated Press.[7]


During the trial in Créteil, France, where he was defended by Jacques Vergès (the victims of attack being defended by Gide Loyrette Nouel), Garabedian denied his earlier confession of having planted the bomb, but was found guilty (along with Nair Sonner and Ohannes Semerci) and sentenced to life imprisonment on March 3, 1985[8] for such "deeds that were aimed at Turkish targets".[9] During the trial he admitted that he was the head of the French branch of the Armenian militant organization ASALA.[1][2]

Pardon and deportation[edit]

In the late 1990s a petition signed by over one million people in Armenia,[10] appeals by Armenian government and civic leaders including former and current presidents of Armenia were sent to the French authorities to pardon Varoujan Garabedian and Armenia offered asylum to Garabedian upon his release from prison.[11][unreliable source?][12]

After spending 17 years in jail, he was pardoned by Bourges court of appeals on April 23, 2001 on the condition that he be deported to Armenia.[1][2][13]

"I am glad that France managed to grant the long-awaited freedom to you after the adoption of Armenia genocide resolution", was written in the congratulation letter of Le Kordonel, the advisor of prison service on additional punishment and pardon.[9]

The mayor of Yerevan, Robert Nazaryan, had pledged to provide him with employment and accommodation, and in Yerevan Garabedian had a meeting with Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan,[14] who expressed happiness at his release.[1] While in prison, he started to paint and produced many paintings.[15]


Prominent Armenian intellectuals, including Zori Balayan, Silva Kaputikyan, Sos Sargsyan, Gevorg Emin, Perch Zeytuntsyan, Levon Ananyan and others expressed support of Garabedian.[16]

2010 scandal[edit]

According to Armenian media, Garabedian is unofficially "supervising" the Yerevan-Dilijan transport line and with his guards was a part of a criminal incident in 2010.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Armenian premier meets with released ASALA member". Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Newsline. May 7, 2001. 
  2. ^ a b c Agence France Presse, April 24, 2001. Armenian terrorist freed and deported from France
  3. ^ New York Times. Sympathy Won't Help. Henry Giniger, Milt Freudenheim and Carlyle C. Douglas, July 24, 1983, New York Times
  4. ^ The New York Times. Paris says suspect confesses attack
  5. ^ Brian Forst, Jack R. Greene, James P. Lynch. Criminologists on Terrorism and Homeland Security. Cambridge University Press, 2011. ISBN 0521899451, 9780521899451, p. 431
  6. ^ AROUND THE WORLD; Death Toll Rises to 7 After Terror at Orly
  7. ^ Associated Press (July 15, 1983). "Fear American Among Six Killed at Orly". Ludington Daily News. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  8. ^ United Press International, Foreign News Briefs, March 4, 1985; (in French)Text of the verdict
  10. ^ Florence Avakian. "Over a Million in Armenia Plead for Release of Convicted ASALA Man." The Armenian Reporter. 1995. HighBeam Research. (September 22, 2012). [1]
  11. ^ AIM magazine, Vol. 10, 1999, p. 20
  12. ^ Waal, Thomas de (2013). Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War. NYU Press. p. 364. ISBN 9780814785782. 
  13. ^ Simonnot, Dominique (24 April 2001). "Le terroriste Garbidjian quitte les prisons françaises". Libération. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  14. ^ Budapest Times: Did not live up to Eastern promise
  15. ^ (in Russian) "Sobesednik Armenii" #25, 2008/Невозможно постоянно иметь революционное поколение[dead link]
  17. ^ [2]