Today, November 11, dozens of citizens came out to protest in front of the Presidential Palace, demanding that HSBC bank staff member Ashot Arushanyan’s case be given a fair verdict. Arushanyan’s relatives have sent a letter to President Serzh Sargsyan and expect to meet with him; if their demands are not satisfied, then they are going to begin a hunger strike.
On sidewalk across from the Presidential Palace, the protesters stood with posters, which read “We Trust our President and his Promises. A Fair Verdict for Ashot Arushanyan,” “Ashot Arushanyan, a Graduate of Excellence from the American University, Already 3 years of Illegal Detention.”
In June of this year, Ashot Arushanyan was sentenced to 5 and a half years imprisonment. According to the most recent accusations, on November 21, 2011, the defendant, Edgar Karakeshishyan, organized to steal 56 million AMD ($135,000) from the car of Manana Grain company’s deputy director Armen Manukyan, while information about the transfer of money was given by Arushanyan. Karakeshishyan was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment. Artashes Galustyan was also charged, but was set free and subsequently found dead after committing suicide in his home.
Today, Ashot Arushanyan’s father, Lavrenti Arushanyan, told journalists that they sentenced his son without any evidence. According to him, the charges were founded on Artashes Galustyan’s testimony, which was obtained through torture (Arm) . The father of young prisoner noted that the torture was so bad that he was unable to speak about it with journalists.
Note, that during Arushanyan’s trial, former political prisoner Tigran Arakelyan spoke about Galustyan being tortured, and before giving testimony asked for women in the courtroom to leave the room. Arakelyan said that when he was in prison, he lived in the same cell with Galustyan for one week. The latter, according to Arakelyan, was subject to brutal beatings at the police station, and was even threatened to be beaten by a dildo. Galustyan also told Arakelyan that they forced him to lie about the third person, promising him to change his charges.
Lavrenti Arushanyan stressed that after Galustyan was arrested, he wrote a testimony confessing to his crime, in which he did not mention Arushanyan’s name and only mentioned his name a month later.
The father recalled that the Court of Appeals once overturned Arushanyan’s verdict and sent the case to the Court of First Instance for a new examination. According to Lavrenti Arushanyan, during the second examination at the Kentron and Nork Marash Districts Universal Court, the presiding Judge Mesrop Makyan examined the trial with impartiality until the last session, however, the verdict was against him. Currently, Arushanyan believes that the President Serzh Sargsyan would listen to his righteous voice, and allow his son’s case to be impartially examined, and justify his innocence.
Arushanyan’s lawyer, Liparit Simonyan, underlined that at the moment the case is in the Court of Appeals. However, Simonyan is not happy with the trial, because the Judge, Karine Ghazaryan, has not allowed the defense to ask questions to the investigator during his questioning.