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Accused Sentenced to 14 Years’ Imprisonment for Murder of 23-Year-Old

The trial of the May 12, 2010 murder of 23-year-old Khachik Mkrtchyan concluded Friday at the Court of General Jurisdiction of First Instance of Arabkir and Kanaker-Zeytun Administrative Districts of Yerevan.

The judge ruled to drop the charges under RA Criminal Code Article 235 Section 1 (“Illegally procuring, transporting, keeping or carrying weapons, explosives or explosive devices”) against Arsen Aharonyan by granting him amnesty; however, the judge ruled to sentence Aharonyan to 5 years in prison under charges of RA Criminal Code Article 258 Section 4 (“Hooliganism combined with medium gravity damage to the health of the person”).

Recall, that Arsen Aharonyan, who is the nephew of former Arabkir district mayor Hovhannes Shahinyan, was initially accused of murder to which he admitted his guilt; however, he later retracted his testimony, after which Vram Baghdasaryan was accused of murder.

Note, during investigation of this case, former head of the RA Police General Department of Criminal Intelligence Hovhannes Tamamyan, “failing to do his duties and undertake necessary measures to reveal a crime,” was dismissed from his position and arrested.

The court issued a guilty sentence to Vram Baghdasaryan for murder and sentenced him to 14 years’ imprisonment. Other accused, Petros Grigoryan and Davit Sandaljyan, which were named as accessories to the crime, were granted amnesty and dismissed from the court.

The remaining two accused, Hayk Sandaljyan and Artur Pokharyan were sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment.

Prior to the ruling being issued, the youth said their final words, asking the court to issue a fair ruling. Vram Baghdasaryan said he did not commit the crime he was being accused of.

Speaking to Epress.am, Baghdasaryan’s attorneys said they will be taking the case to the appeals court.

“Without evidence, without justification, they imprison a man for 14 years. And this is considered a shameful trial. An unjust court issued an unjust ruling,” said one of Baghdasaryan’s attorneys, Gayane Khachatryan.

The Yerevan-based Helsinki Association for Human Rights produced a video covering the judicial process (see below, in Armenian only).