US disappointed by release of Armenian terrorist convicted of killing Turkish diplomat

The US is "deeply disappointed" by a court's decision to release on parole an Armenian national who assassinated a Turkish diplomat in Los Angeles in 1982, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday.

"Attacking a diplomat is not only a grave crime against a particular individual, it is also an attack on diplomacy itself," said Blinken in a statement.

His statement came after the Los Angeles County Superior Court recently ruled in favor of the release of Hampig Sassounian.

Sassounian was convicted of fatally shooting Turkey's Consul General in Los Angeles Kemal Arikan nearly four decades ago while he sat in his car at an intersection in Los Angeles.

“To ensure the safety of the dedicated U.S. diplomats serving around the world, it has been the longstanding position of the United States to advocate that those who assassinate diplomats receive the maximum sentence possible, and that they serve those sentences without parole or early release,” Blinken said.

"We again offer our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Arikan and our colleagues at Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their loss," he added.


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