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“Judges Carry Out Orders from Above”: Why “Gang Case” was Postponed

Yesterday's hearing in the "gang case" in the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork Marash Administrative Districts of Yerevan did not last long. Judge Mesrop Makyan at the start of the session that he received a document before the session that a neurologist is needed for the accused Kyaram Amoyan's medical examination, and for this reason the session will be postponed. The judge said that the necessary expert would be invited at the next court session scheduled for next week.

Accused Artush Hakobyan's attorney Hovik Arsenyan made a motion to change his client's measure of restraint, as it's been 3 years he's been behind bars and there is no proof of his guilt, and court sessions are constantly being postponed. The attorneys of the other defendants also supported the motion, which was opposed by the prosecutor.

Judge Makyan refused to discuss the issue, saying the trial will continue next week. 

Helsinki Association for Human Rights observers who have been following this case, in conversation with Epress.am, said that the judge's claim that the court found out about the need to invite a neurologist only on the day of the court session at the very least causes doubt. The day before it was noted on the DataLex online judiciary portal that the "gang case" court session would take place at 2 pm, presided over by Judge Mesrop Makyan, whereas the judge had another officially appointed court hearing at 2:15 pm. The observers wondered how Judge Makyan would have a 15-minute court session.

As for the judge's conduct, Helsinki Association President Mikael Danielyan recalled the remarks of RA Minister of Justice Hrayr Tovmasyan at the opening of the Justice Academy days ago, that the newly established Academy would help in preparing better and more competent judges and prosecutors. 

"Yesterday's [court] session showed that no academy can help reform the judicial system [in Armenia]. The same Makyan is known as the judge in the case of Vahan Khalafyan, during which several violations were recorded. In my opinion, no academy will help judges like Makyan, and the system continues to produce cadres of the same quality. They are judges who fulfill orders from above, and in Armenia's system, there are many Makyans," he said. 

Recall, in this case there are 5 people arrested on charges in September 2011 on committing burglaries. Their lawyers claim their clients are being tortured and testimony obtained under such conditions shouldn't be admitted in court and become grounds for prosecution. 

One of the accused, Arman Dallakyan, 41, died on Sept. 7, 2013, in the hospital for prisoners. His mother told Epress.am that not only was her son beaten, but also his parents weren't allowed to take him his medication.