The father of 15-year old Yerevan handball player Davit Hovakimyan, who was killed in Armenia’s second largest city of Vanadzor in 2013, said at a press conference on Tuesday that he still could not reconcile himself to the fact that his son’s “real killer is at large” while Vanadzor resident Karen Kungortsev, who was acquitted last year after three years of imprisonment, has again been sent to jail. The father added that his lawyers were going to challenge the decision of Appeal Court judges Mher Arghamanyan, Manushak Petrosyan and Mkhitar Papoyan to overturn the verdict of acquittal issued by the Lori first instance court in 2016.
Hovakimyan’s lawyer, Armine Farmanyan, said for her part that the Appeal Court’s decision to re-arrest Kungortsev was based solely on testimonies of two teenagers who had not even been at the scene of the murder. “Reading the judicial act – nearly 200 pages – one can’t help but think that the judges did not even properly study the case [before issuing their ruling]. They could have at least listened to the recordings of the hearings [of the lower court]. The prosecutor had even disregarded the testimonies of these two witnesses, insisting that they had not been at the scene. The Appeal Court, however, decided somehow that these people’s previous testimonies were reliable. [The Appeal Court judges] neither listened to the recordings of the hearings nor studied the case materials. They didn’t even listen to the prosecutor’s speech,” Farmanyan said.
Arayik Papikyan, a lawyer for Kungortsev, added that the defense found out about the “new evidence” only 50 days after the announcement of the verdict. For example, they found out that the head of the Nubarashen prison had sent a letter to the Appeal Court in the name of judge Manushak Petrosyan, which was subsequently considered a part of the basis for Kungortsev’s arrest. “We learned about this only 50 days after the announcement of the decision. Everything indicates that the court simply carried out a certain order. First of all, they took the real culprit under their protection. They also freed the authorities of the obligation to pay Kungortsev a compassion for the three years he spent in prison and to begin an investigation to establish the identity of the real killer,” Papikyan said.