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Melbourne Bomber Levon Demirian's Prison Letters Unveil Frustration, Delusion and Fanaticism.

National Archive files on Melbourne bomber Hagop Levonian, seen by this outlet, sheds a light to the inner world of Levon Demirian during his time in prison. Demirian had sent two letters to an Armenian outlet in Lebanon and one letter to Salpy Levonian, his deceased accomplice Hagop's wife, from prison.

In his letters to Aztag Daily, Demirian expresses frustration about the lack of community support in Australia and sees himself as a political hero needed to be financially and morally backed.


Levonian, a very close friend of Demirian, died while setting up a car bomb in the car park of a building where Turkish Consul General was also located in on 23 November 1986. Demirian, a fanatical ultra-nationalist Armenian, who was also a key suspect for the killing of Turkish Consulate General Sarik Ariyak and diplomat Engin Sever had been jailed by a Victorian court for his part in this terrorist act.

While in prison, he wrote a letter to a Lebanese Armenian outlet Aztag Daily to express his frustration in the absence of support from Australian Armenian community.

Several special agent reports following from those years also suggest both Demirian family and Levonian family had faced isolation during community events.

In this letter, dated 1 December 1987, Levon Demirian's overall mood can be described as a mix of frustration, disappointment, and unwavering fanaticism.

Frustration is evident in his tone as he addresses the lack of interest from the Armenian community in Australia and the perceived lack of support from the Armenian media. He feels that the news about his case has been insufficiently or inaccurately reported, leaving him to rely on the AZTAG DAILY to share his side of the story.

Disappointment emerges in his descriptions of the limited support and encouragement he has received from the Australian Armenian community, contrasting this with the support he received from Armenians in other countries. He is disheartened by the absence of a defense committee and the lack of financial and moral backing for his case.

However, Demirian also demonstrates an unwavering and fanatical zeal, seeing himself as a political prisoner.

In one of the other letters seen by this outlet, he continues to lie to the widowed wife of the person he calls his best friend. That story is for later. Read below the edited excerpt from Australia's first convicted international terrorist.



"1st December 1987


Dear and esteemed Comrades, friends, students and countrymen,


I, the undersigned, LEVON DEMIRIAN, have at present been sentenced to and have been locked up in the life imprisonment (minimum 25 years) Melbourne City prison, as an accomplice/terrorist for the blowing up of the Turkish Consulate in Melbourne.


You must have certainly heard the news of my verdict by now, but without the relevant details, because the correspondents (reporters) of the Armenian Monthly magazine were apparently either uninterested in my case or were too pre-occupied with other matters to follow the proceedings of my trial. It was unfortunately the Turkish news agency (directly concerned with the Armenian politics) which informed their people both in Australia and Turkey of the details of my case.


I can nevertheless assure all of you that given the opportunity, I wish through the AZTAG DAILY to inform the Armenian Diaspora as well as the Armenian community in Lebanon of all the details of my case, explicable or inexplicable, as soon as the Appeal Court has decided my case, for I have already lodged an appeal for the re-examination of the "unjust" decision and verdict delivered at my trial. assure you that my case will be re-examined in February/March 1988, and I hope that justice will triumph.


With this letter I would first like to thank heartily all those who have during the past year and from the day of my arrest until now - encouraged and consoled me with cards and letters and by offering me financial assistance and enquiring about my trial in general.


Excuse me that I was unable to answer each of you separately, for I was unable to, and did not have the opportunity to answer all those letters and cards which I received from time to time, most of which came from Lebanon. The reasons for my failure to answer were twofold.


Firstly, I was allowed to send a certain number of letters only, according to the prison rules. Secondly, I have been busy with the preparation of my defence.


It was for this reason that I decided to answer all of you through the AZTAG DAILY, for which I beg your pardon.


Your encouraging and consolatory words have, sincerely speaking, moved me and gladdened my heart, for in spite of the great distance separating us, you have not been indifferent to me, nor have you grudged me a card or a letter through which to express your true feelings towards my person.


Ironical, I have not received from the Armenian community in same warm and sincere wishes, which I have received from far-away plac - such as Lebanon, France, Canada and the U.S.A.


Do not be surprised if I tell you that while being locked up as a prisoner during the past year, I have received only one card from the Armenian community in Australia, (and that on the occasion of the New Year), one visitor (with the exception of my family members) and a few indirect greetings from a number of individuals through my family.


...


Because I believe that they had no right to condemn me on circumstantial evidence alone. I am also convinced that the injustice that was done to me was the result of the political pressure applied by the Turkish government.

...


With regard to those who want to assist me financially, I can say one I thing, that I have been deeply moved by their nationalistic gesture...

...


I would like to make it clear with a few words that from the day of my arrest until the final verdict I have neither seen any "defence committee", nor have I heard that such a committee exists or operates on my behalf.


If you know of such a committee which has been elected in Australia in pursuance of my defence, please let me know.I have not had a "defence committee", nor have I had any moral and financial backing from any Australian Armenian, if, of course, there is such a patriotic and Australian Armenian, if, of course, conscientious Armenian in Australia.

....


Because I have believed and have been convinced that any individual Armenian who is charged with any political offence against any Turkish individuals or institutions, the Armenian populace of that city (or country) whether that person is guilty or not, should stand like one man, demanding justice for him and organising a defence committee and an "Armenian political prisoner" fund for his defence.

...

Sincerely,

LEVON DEMIRIAN"


Note: Documents have been accessed via National Archives of Australia and mostly registered for public access in 2017. Each folder have several documents belonging to a variety of agencies, including Victoria Police, ASIO, DFAT, Cabinet and other agencies.



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