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4 Men Accused of Setting Fire to Haystacks in an Armenian Village were Granted Amnesty

The Armavir District Court of First Instance, presided over by Judge Vahe Khalatyan, today found the four men accused of disorderly conduct and intentionally damaging another’s property (in this case, setting fire to a haystack) guilty on all charges. 

A. M. and R. P. were sentenced to 2.5 years in prison, while Gagik Arakelyan and Artur Klyan were sentenced to 1 year and 1 month for setting fire to haystacks belonging to Norapat village resident Siaband Khudoyan. However, all four defendants were granted amnesty and were released from the courtroom. The accused and their attorneys claim there were incidents of torture and violations in the case. As a sign of protest, M. had gone on a hunger strike at the end of September, refusing also to drink water for 4 days.

The accused have said that they did not set fire to the haystacks, while the victim, Siaband Khudoyan made a statement three times in January, each time saying that he had not suffered any damages. Only six months later did he speak of damages.

After being released, M. told reporters that he was expecting this ruling, judging from the investigation. “If there was no amnesty, they would’ve placed me on probation, since after such a commotion they couldn’t imprison us, because this case is absurd. It’s like catching an innocent man, locking him up for half a year, and saying, you should be grateful,” he said.

Asked he plans for the near future, he said now he will be more active and will fight more: “The country did this for me; let’s see what I can do for the country.”

He added that he’ll consult with his attorney and most likely he’ll appeal the guilty verdict. R. P. and Gagik Arakelyan also intend to appeal.

“I didn’t need to be released under amnesty; I need to be acquitted. I can’t say why we were framed, since I wasn’t even at the scene of the incident. I wonder where the scene of the incident is [actually],” said Arakelyan.

Tekali Taxi