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Armenian Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Theft

The trial against Avetik Hovhannisyan (who is charged under RA Criminal Code Article 175 Section 3 Paragraph 1 — “banditry committed in particularly large amount with the purpose of theft”) concluded at the Court of General Jurisdiction of Shengavit Administrative District of Yerevan today.

According to the Yerevan-based Helsinki Association for Human Rights, the court sustained prosecutor Tigran Hovhannisyan’s “baseless” accusation and ruled in favor of a guilty verdict, sentencing the accused to 10 years in prison. According to defense attorneys in the case, Nina Karapetyants and Gayane Khachatryan, there was no evidence in the case pointing to their client’s guilt apart from “libellous” testimonies given under torture by prisoners Suren Gasparyan and Khachatur Makaryan, which they refuted in court, saying that they slandered Avetik Hovannisyan only after being beaten by police officers.

Hovhannisyan was charged after he, with the use of a weapon and with the purpose of stealing large sums of money, agreeing with Gasparyan and Makaryan, at around 6 pm on Dec. 16 went to the apartment belonging to Vayla Amirkhanyan with the intention of breaking and entering.

The Helsinki Association particularly emphasizes that the judge presiding over the case was military prosecutor Gevorg Kostanyan’s father, Suren Kostanyan.

“Perhaps there would be no need to note the family connection between these two officials if their work practices were different. Regretfully, there also wouldn’t be this need if they made just decision and did not support the prosecution’s unlawful activities. Now it’s clear that for the Kostanyan’s, breaking the law is a genetic attribute,” say the Helsinki Association’s attorneys.