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Amnesty Granted to Brothers Accused of Bombing Gay-Friendly Bar DIY

The Court of Appeal today not only sustained a lower court's ruling, but also granted the accused amnesty. 

The last court session in the case of the bombing of DIY, a bar in central Yerevan, took place in the Court of Appeal today.

Judge Manushak Petrosyan refused the plaintiff's appeal, sustaining the lower court's ruling that sentenced brothers Arameh and Hambik Khabazyan to 1 year and 7 months’ provisional imprisonment and 2 years’ probation.

Moreover, the upper court granted the defendants amnesty. Recall, after the lower court's ruling, the injured party opined that the court set a clearly mild punishment for the accused.

"The act committed by the defendants is a hate crime. Though the RA Criminal Code does not provide for hate crime [per se], it had the opportunity, applying international agreements on human rights, to set a strict punishment, thereby preventing he spread of homophobia, hate, and discrimination," read the appeal, in part, which was overruled.

Human rights NGO representatives had expressed their concerns regarding the earlier verdict. The court "doesn't consider that [what they did] was a clear terrorist act directed at minorities," Public Information and Need of Knowledge (PINK Armenia) President Mamikon Hovsepyan had said earlier. 

Note, after the incident, nationalist groups continued to attack and deface the bar, and one of the bar's owners, Armine Oganezova (Tsomak), was forced to shut down the bar and flee the country.