Crucial excerpts from the Lebanese police interrogations of Raffi and Panos Nahabedians following their arrest on April 14, 1985, in the killings of the Bourj Hammoud Massacre (translated from the Lebanese police records in Arabic)

Raffi Nahabedian:

“We decided to execute the operation on Thursday, March 28, 1985. Panos and Hratch went up to the office while I was still on the road, then I entered after Panos and Hratch, and began immediately to unload the iron safe. During this time I heard the shouting of the girl Khatoun (Tekeyan) and a low sound of fire shots due to the silencer. I continued the unloading of the iron safe in nylon bags and a leather valise. I went immediately to the car. Panos and Hratch joined me. My brother Panos told me that Hrant and the workers, all of them are dead. ”.

(Confession signed by Raffi Nahabedian)

Panos Nahabedian:

“I heard shouting from the second room and a fire shot. I headed to the shot direction and found that Hratch had shot the Armenian girl Khatoun. Then he shot the second girl and killed her. He went out of the room, took Hrant to a second room adjacent to the iron door and shot him dead. Then Hratch shot Hani, then killed Avedik.”

(Confession signed by Panos Nahabedian)

Hratch Nahabedian

personally admitted to to have killed Hrant Kurkdjian and the four employees of the Middle East Diamond Company in Bourj Hammoud, Lebanon, on 28 March, 1985. According to his two brothers's confessions and based on forensic evidence, he killed all present in the company office in cold blood, with a silenced pistol.

Criminals Sentenced To Death

The sentence was reduced to hard labor for life according to the Lebanese Amnesty law No. 84/901

Panos Nahabedian:

“On Thursday 28 March, at about half-past ten o’clock A.M, I told my wife Seta MAZBANIAN, that I am traveling, however, I went to our factory where my brother Hratch was waiting with Raffi. Hratch had brought the pistol with the silencer. At about twelve o’clock at noon, Raffi went to Hrant’s factory to deliver pearl rosaries to Hrant and to make sure if there is any person other than the owner and the workers (…). I went up with Hratch to the factory and the wooden door was open. When the worker Hani saw us, he opened the door through the electric button since he knows me well. Hratch joined me then closed the iron door. When I entered into the office of Hrant, I pulled out my pistol and threatened him saying: Let no one move. He said to me: “What is the matter?” “We want to rob, open the safe.” He answered: “it is open”. He approached towards the safe and opened it. Hratch opened the door to Rafi and entered the room where I was and began to unload the safe from its content. Then I heard shouting from the second room and a fire shot. I headed to the shot direction and found that the Armenian girl Khatoun was killed. I returned to the corridor and I was trembling. Then he shot the second girl and killed her. He went out of the room, took Hrant to a second room adjacent to the iron door and shot him dead. Raffi had finished the unloading of the safe (….) Hratch shot Hani, then killed Avedik. Then we left the factory and headed immediately to the car and to the house of my brother Raffi (…). The precious stones and the jewelry remained at the house of Raffi. Hratch returned to the car; we put the pistols in a nylon bag. I drove the car and Hratch sat by my side and we went to Syria through the road of Monte Verde. After the crossroad of Monte Verde, my brother threw the pistols (I think the three pistols) in the forest before the checkpoint of the Army and I went to Damascus where I remained for three days and from there I traveled to Cyprus with my brother to run away from this case (…).

After five days I returned to Beirut by sea. I remained there for one day and slept at the house of my sister. I asked her what Raffi has done. She told me that he concealed the stones and the gold in the roof. Then I stayed in a hotel in Rawche (I don’t know its name), where I paid one thousand five hundred Lebanese Pounds for a two weeks stay. I was contacting my brother Hratch and I called also two times my brother Raffi (…).

I certify that I took some diamond stones and about one hundred grams of gold from the robbery operation. I handled a turquoise stone to one of our relatives in Syria, Ibrahim EL KHOURY, who is the father of Raffi’s wife who is living in Damascus, Aleppo Street.”

(Confession signed by Panos Nahabedian)



The Verdict

(official English translation)

Raffi Nahabedian:

“I met with my brother Panos and Hratch in our factory. We agreed on the target; it was Hrant’s factory so that we rob the stones and the gold and escape. We had 3 pistols, the first from the type of Star 9mm and the second from the type of Smith West Akra 3,8mm and a small pistol of white color, I don’t know its caliber however its cartouches were small and my brother Hratch brought it and brought also with it a silencer. We decided to execute the operation on Thursday, March 28, 1985 (…).

"Panos and Hratch went up to the office while I was still on the road, then I entered after Panos and Hratch and began immediately to unload the iron safe. Hrant said to me: Raffi, what are you doing? I answered: Master I have debts and you have money, give me a little and it will be O.K. During this time I heard the shouting of the girl Khatoun (Tekeyan) and a low sound of fire shots due to the silencer. I continued the unloading of the iron safe in nylon bags and a leather valise. After finishing, I carried the valise and the nylon bags. Hratch was taking Hrant to the room adjacent to the door. I said to Avedik (Boyadjian) - “did you see anything?” he said. “No”. So I said to my brother, “don’t kill him because he has children”, and I requested also to not kill the rest. However, I learned that there were killed people and I went immediately to the car. And prior to my arrival to the car, Panos and Hratch joined me and I delayed in my walk since the goods were heavy. We went up to the car. My brother Panos told me that Hrant and the workers, all of them dead. Both of them went to Damascus and I took with me the stones and gold. I went up to the roof and put them in a TV antenna barrel until the morning of the next day. I took the gold to our workplace and started to melt them in gold bullions. This work lasted two days. As for the stones I took them to the house of my brother Panos without the knowledge of his wife who was not there since she was at her father’ s house. Then I unloaded again the stones in four nylon bags and put them within cloths and brought them to my house after I sent my wife and my mother to my brother. Then I introduced them in the pipe of the bathroom within the wall since it is not apparent, in such a way that the bathroom and the corridor were painted with black and also my clothes. I changed my shirt and tried to clean the floor of the house; however, there were still traces. I returned to my wife who was at the house of my sister. When she saw me, she noticed that I changed my shirt. I lied and told her that my shirt was dirty. She asked me, “What have you done, Raffi?” I thought about an answer and said that I have painted my shoes with black and the conversation ended at this point. I have been able all along this to hide this case from my mother and wife. This is what happened to me and I have told it to you”.

(Confession signed by Raffi Nahabedian)