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Norayr Hayrapetyan Confesses to Beating Vahe Avetyan to Death

One of the defendants in a high-profile case involving the death of a military doctor at the start of the hearing today asked to be interrogated again. The defendant, Norayr Hayrapetyan, said that he would like to confess that he (and not the others on trial) personally attacked Vahe Avetyan on Jun. 17, 2012, at the Harsnaqar restaurant complex. Recall, the military doctor died in hospital from brain injury 12 days after the beating.

Hayrapetyan insists that Avetyan died from his blows. After this statement, Hayrapetyan’s attorney Yerem Sargsyan asked for a short recess, announcing that he didn’t know his client would make such a statement and that he’d like to speak with him. Judge David Harutyunyan sustained the motion.

After recess, the judge said the court hearing will recommence, beginning with placing Hayrapetyan on the stand. Hayrapetyan said the actual incident lasted about 35 seconds, “not a massacre lasting hours, as they have been saying.”

According to Hayrapetyan, at first he slapped one of the young men who accompanied Vahe Avetyan to the restaurant. Then Vahe approached them and attempted to intervene, asking “What’s going on here?” Hayrapetyan cursed at Avetyan, and the latter responded by cursing back.

Then, Hayrapetyan hit Avetyan, who fell to the ground, got up and gave a counter blow, after which Hayrapetyan began to strike Avetyan repeatedly. The latter fell and didn’t get up. According to Hayrapetyan, he only used his hand to strike, and he didn’t know that he had caused serious injury; otherwise, “I wouldn’t wait for his friends to come; I would take him to the hospital myself.” Hayrapetyan mentioned that he was honest in his pre-trial testimony — he just didn’t mention that he was the only attacker.

The accused also said that while he was hitting him Vahe was crying out in pain. Asked by the prosecuting attorney how many times he hit the victim, Hayrapetyan said, “I didn’t count.”

During his testimony in court, Hayrapetyan constantly insisted that he was the only person who hit Avetyan. When asked why he was confessing to the act one year later, he said that his conscience is tormenting him and “I don’t want innocent people to sit [in jail].” He refused to answer the questions of Tigran Yegoryan, who is defending the interests of Avetyan’s legal successor.

Recall, Avetyan’s friend Artak Baladyan, who is named as a victim in the case, previously had said that 15 people beat them in Harsnaqar.

Prosecuting attorney Armen Davtyan is asking for 13 years’ imprisonment for the accused: Garik Margaryan, Arman Khachatryan, Armen Baghdasaryan, Artur Babloyan, David Adamyan, and Norayr Hayrapetyan. According to documents presented to the court, the accused were working in the restaurant complex, which belongs to former Republican Party of Armenia MP, Football Federation of Armenia President Ruben Hayrapetyan, who testified in court that he didn’t know about the incident, expressing discontent that he was accused of the crime, though, according to him, he didn’t do anything and didn’t know anything.