On June 29, 2018, the California Department of Corrections Parole Board denied Hampig “Harry” Sassounian’s release on parole. This was Sassounian’s fifth parole denial in twelve years. Sassounian will not be eligible for parole suitability hearing until June 2021.
Sassounian, Inmate C88440, was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment for the heinous assassination of Turkish Consul General Kemal Arikan on January 28, 1982, as Mr. Arikan was in his car waiting at a traffic signal. Sassounian shot Mr. Arikan 14 times in the chest and head. Armenian terrorist organization JCAG claimed responsibility. Sassounian entered prison on June 29, 1984. Sassounian’s previous parole requests had been denied because of his violent extremism in advocating the Armenian allegation of genocide, which poses a public safety risk.
In late May 2018, the ATAA launched an online petition and started social media alerts against Sassounian’s parole, to prevent the obstruction of justice and to support efforts by the Turkish American community and Turkish American organizations nationwide. The action alerts and online campaigns prompted thousands of Turkish Americans and friends of Turkey to call on the California Department of Corrections Parole Board to deny Sassounian’s release.
ATAA thanks the Turkish American community, Turkish and Turkic American organizations, including Association of Turkish Americans of Southern California (ATA-SC) and many others for their tremendous efforts resulted in the denial of the parole of terrorist Hamping Sassounian.