Gourgen Yanikian

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Gourgen Yanikian (Armenian: Գուրգեն Յանիկյան, December 24, 1895, Erzurum, Ottoman Armenia - March 27, 1984, USA) was an Armenian author and engineer who killed two Turkish consular officials in California in 1973[1]. His stated purpose was "to demand justice" for the Armenian Genocide.[1]

Armenians hoped Yanikian's trial would provide a vehicle for proving the massacres in a court of law, while there were still surviving witnesses. Yanikian took the Armenian Genocide witness stand, accompanied by his friend and interpreter, Santa Barbaran Aram Saroyan, the uncle of famous author William Saroyan. Yanikian told of his 26 family members killed in the massacres, and how he watched in hiding as marauding Turks slit his brother's throat. Finally, he said that he killed the Turkish diplomats as representatives of the "government that had massacred his people".

He was sentenced to life in prison in July 1973 and paroled in 1984, over the objection of the Turkish government.[2]

After Yanikian's death, District Attorney David D. Minner wrote: "Looking back, I regret that I did not allow the genocide to be proven. Not because Yanikian should have gone free, but because history's darkest chapters - its genocides - should be exposed, so their horrors are less likely to be repeated".[2]

Books[change | change source]

in English[change | change source]

  • The Triumph of Judas Iscariot, Los Angeles: Research Publ. Co., 1950, 254 p.
  • The Resurrected Christ: A Novel, New York: Exposition, 1955, 141 p.
  • Harem Cross: A Novel of the Near-East, 1953
  • The Voice of an American, 1960
  • Mirror in the Darkness, 1966

in Armenian[change | change source]

  • Purpose and Justice (memoires from the prison), Yerevan, Tigran Mets Publ., 1999

Other pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Imprisoned Armenian Dies, New York Times, March 1, 1984
  2. 2.0 2.1 Murder Will Out? District Attorney Regrets Not Allowing Genocide Testimony at Murder Trial, By David D. Minner // The Independent, Apr 2, 1998

Other websites[change | change source]