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Armenian-American Convicted on Terror-related Charges

December 13, 1986

PARIS (AP) _ A French court on Friday convicted an Armenian-American of criminal conspiracy, arms possession and forgery of documents. It sentenced him to six years in jail.

Monte Melkonian, 29, was described by the court as a leader of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia, or ASALA.

The court suspended two years from the prison term ″because of his ideological motivations and because he publicly disavowed certain random attacks by ASALA.″

The organization has attacked Turkish diplomats in several countries and carried out bombings. A bomb placed beside a Turkish Airlines ticket counter at Orly Airport in Paris killed eight people in 1983.

Ethnic Armenians live in parts of Turkey, the Soviet Union and Iran. Armenian militants have struck at Turkish targets to avenge what they say was the wholesale slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman authorities in the early 20th century.

Melkonian, a California-born archaeologist, was arrested by French intelligence agents in Paris Nov. 28, 1985. The court was told at his trial two weeks ago that arms, forged identity papers, bomb detonators and militant Armenian literature were found in his apartment.

Another ASALA member and roommate of Melkonian, 25-year-old Zibour Kassbar, was sentenced to two years in jail, one suspended.

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