By Saulius Kizelavicius
It is not appropriate for America to act like this. What do I mean. In spring this year the court of Los Angeles allowed to deport Hamping Sasunian, member of a terrorist organization ASALA, to Armenia. ASALA fighter became infamous in 1982, when on 28 January with an accomplice Krikor Salibakilled Turkey’s Consul General Kemal Arikan, who worked in Los Angeles.
Terrorist Sasunian was sentenced to life imprisonment fort his crime (his accomplice escaped, but was killed in the same year during military clashes in Lebanon). However large and influential Armenian diaspora in California started sending requests for pardon to Los Angeles courts. So far Californian governors used to appeal all attempts to free the terrorist who killed a diplomat.
In 2021 the governor of California unexpectedly stated that he would not appeal the court ruling to provide an opportunity for the terrorist to return to Armenia. Why has US law enforcement and US politicians become graceful to the killer in 2021? It is easy to explain: while relations between Washington and Ankara were friendly, while Turkey and the US agreed, Sasunian was imprisoned in one of the prisons in California. When relations between Turks and Americans worsened, America started shuffle – subtly took revenge against Turks by releasing a terrorist. This explanation is logical.
However such double faced policy of the US law enforcement is leading to a dead end. If Americans start applying punishment according to a principle ‘our friend or our enemy’, it means, it is not justice anymore. Then the countries, who are hostile to America, are also allowed to do so. For example, from now on official Ankara can criticize America who allegedly illegally persecute Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, who revealed American secrets. If America allowed ASALA terrorist to return to Armenia and enjoy freedom there, it means that Ankara and Istanbul have at least a moral rights to shout ‘Hands off of Snowden and Assange’. If terrorists, who harmed America, try to hide in Turkey, Turkey would be right to give pardons to left and right to murderers of American citizens?