During the Wednesday court hearing into the case of the Sasna Tsrer armed group at the Avan and Nor Nork district court, armed group member Varuzhan Avetisyan called for an armed uprising and the physical destruction of Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan. “I call for an uprising! Take up arms and physically destroy Serzhik and his gang,” Avetisyan declared.
Before the start of the hearing, the numerous police officers and bailiffs in the courtroom insisted on searching all those present, including the lawyers of the 14 members of Sasna Tsrer. The lawyers refused to allow the officers to search them, stating that it was a violation of the law. As a result, by the beginning of the hearing, only 3 lawyers – Ara Gharagyozyan, Armine Fanyan and Harutyun Baghdasaryan – had managed to enter the courtroom without having been searched, and presiding judge Artush Gabrielyan announced a one-hour break to ensure that all the lawyers were present in the courtroom.
As the hearing resumed, judge Gabrielyan began introducing the procedure for motioning for the judge’s recusal, and defendant Gagik Yeghiazaryan announced that their group had long ago rejected the entire criminal regime, “which also includes judges,” and they did not intend to motion for anyone’s recusal individually.
Despite the judge’s arguments that Yeghiazaryan was violating the court order by speaking out without a permission, the Sasna Tsrer gunman went on claiming that their recusal motion would not be granted anyway as “everyone, including the judges, serves the same criminal regime.”
Yeghiazaryan’s statement prompted the presiding judge to subject the defendant to a sanction and remove him from the courtroom for 6 court hours. After yet another one-hour break, the judge announced that Yeghiazaryan’s lawyer, Tigran Yegoryan, had left the courtroom without his permission, claiming that he would not take part in the hearings without his client’s presence.
Having announced this, judge Gabrielyan took another break, stating that he intended to subject Yegoryan to a sanction and file a report on the latter with the Chamber of Advocates. The judge’s decision angered the other lawyers, who began arguing that Gabrielyan was continuously committing illegal actions.
At the same time, defendant Varuzhan Avetisyan called for those present to take up arms and physically destroy Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan, after which the judge decided to remove Avetisyan from the courtroom and take another break.
Speaking to reporters during the break, Varuzhan Avetisyan’s lawyer, Mushegh Shushanyan said the hearing had been conducted illegally as the judge had no right to hold a hearing without the presence of defendant Smbat Barseghyan’s lawyer Hayk Alumyan. Barseghyan, in addition to the charges of an armed takeover and hostage taking, is also accused of murdering two police officers, Artur Vanoyan and Yuri Tepanosyan.
Commenting on the sanction against Avetisyan, Shushanyan said he did not intend to participate in the hearings without his client. According to the lawyer, the repeated breaks announced by the judge were also unjustified. “Perhaps, being unable to conduct the process as planned, the judge periodically needed to take breaks to consult with those whose order he is fulfilling,” he said.