In 1981, ASALA members occupied the Turkish Embassy in Paris and held more than 50 people hostage for 15 hours. Due to this, Patrick Devedjian withdrew from the mayoral election and chose to defend the four young Armenian ASALA members in court.
Devedjian and his team made sure that the ASALA members be called “combatants” rather than “terrorists” in court. If you didn’t know, as per the Geneva Conventions of 1949, a combatant is an individual that has the legal right to engage in hostilities during an international armed conflict.
“It is extremely important that the public understands the essence of this matter and the origins of the Armenian issue. Terrorism and genocide is what has been carried out against the Armenian people. However, the people in front of us are not terrorists – they are descendants of the victims of terrorism and genocide.
When passing the verdict, do not forget that the whole Armenian community of France is in solidarity with the four young Armenians and is sitting with them in the chairs of the accused.
Remember that by judging them, you are also judging those long caravans of exiles whose wanderings ended in this hall today. Today in this room are present all those men whose skulls were smashed by Turkish gunstocks, women with dried tears in their eyes and bloodied stomachs, as well as children swollen from hunger and who died holding their mother’s dried nipples in their mouths.
You will judge them all at once. All their shadows are present near the four Armenian youths because without these shadows, none of the four would have been here.
Do not confuse the victims. The victim is one – an ancient nation with 3 thousand years of history that, with bated breath, is waiting for justice.
Do not be silent and give hope, which in this case means to release the accused,” Devedjian said during the first trial.
During the reading of the verdict, the majority of the participants (Armenians) also got up upon hearing the words “accused, stand up”. And when financial compensation to the Turkish side was mentioned, singer Rosie Armen sang “Wake Up, Lao”, and she was joined by the many voices of those present, including Patrick Devedjian.