INTRODUCTION: The group responsible for last week's seizure of the Turkish consulate in Paris says it has two more guerrilla squads ready for action.
1. SV Presser (hooded man is chief of Armenian Secret Army, aide speaking French. 0.20
2. SCU Hooded leader and aide, leader speaking Arabic, aide translating PULL OUT ZOOM IN ON aide. (all one shot). 2.20
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Background: BEIRUT, LEBANON
INTRODUCTION: The group responsible for last week's seizure of the Turkish consulate in Paris says it has two more guerrilla squads ready for action. The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia or ASALA for short, made the claim at a press conference in Beirut on Saturday (26 September). On Friday (25 September) four ASALA gunmen freed about 40 hostages in the Paris consulate and gave themselves up. They'd killed a Turkish guard and seriously injured the vice-consul when seizing the building fourteen hours before.
SYNOPSIS: The hooded man on the right is ASALA's leader who goes under the common Armenian named of Hagop Hagopian. He is concerned at the fate of his four guerrillas who gave themselves up to French police asking for political asylum. That's been refused and the gunmen are to stand trial.
Mr. Hagopian is speaking through an interpreter who was himself blinded and maimed on an ASALA bombing raid when the device exploded prematurely. The ASALA leader said France would be breaking a promise if it didn't grant political asylum to the gunmen who took over the consulate. The French Interior Minister, Gaston Deferr, has confirmed that asylum was agreed to during the siege to calm the gunmen. However, it had been decided to send them for trial on criminal charges because of their anti-humanitarian acts. Mr. Hagopian warned the French not to revoke its promise... he said his organisation could not abandon its members. He made no direct threat but said two Armenian commando groups were ready and awaiting orders. The ASALA chief, speaking at a closely-guarded basement in West Beirut said the gunmen had surrendered on the basis of the agreement for political asylum.
The gunmen had been demanding the release of all Armenian prisoners in turkish jails. Mr. Hagopian said the attack was to highlight what he called Turkish repression. He said his people would go on attacking the building the buildings of the Fascist Turkish regime and he said the coming weeks would prove his words although he didn't elaborate. The ASALA action in Paris is the latest in a series of attacks by pro-Armenian militants against Turkish diplomats abroad since the early seventies. Fifteen diplomats have been killed in some 50 attacks by ASALA or other Armenian organisations. In March this year, two Turkish embassy officials were shot dead in a Paris street although ASALA didn't claim responsibility for that attack. The Armenian militants are fighting back for the establishment of an independent homeland in what's now Eastern Turkey. They say the current wave of violence is in vengeance for a massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks early this century.
Source: REUTERS - MOHAMAD AMWAD