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Yerevan Military Institute Trainees Indicted for Murder Report Police Brutality

The murder of Haykaz Barseghyan, a trainee at Vazgen Sargsyan Military Institute in Yerevan, is one of those cases when the public opinion is way ahead of the investigator or the judge, reporter Syuzan Simonyan writes in an article for Hraparak daily.  The brutality of the crime – Barseghyan's mutilated body was found hanging from a rope attached to a horizontal bar in the gym of the training unit – and the fact that two of the six suspects' parents are officials, while another one, Gnel's father, is a high-ranking military officer, is enough for the public to demand the most brutal treatment towards these two and to hand out its own verdict – life sentence for Colonel Zarmik Markosyan's son, Gnel Tevosyan. 

According to the article, this claim was made by Haykaz Barseghyan's parents through various media outlets, who expressed the hope that the Colonel's son would not be able to get away with their son's murder. 

“Meanwhile, the Colonel's son has reported that he has been subjected to violence at the Military Police, and demanded that criminal proceedings were instituted against the police officers. However, his demand was rejected,” Syuzan Simonyan writes. 

Tevosyan's lawyer, Ara Zakaryan has appealed this decision, though he has not received a response from the prosecutor's office yet. “I haven't been provided with the decision or the case materials yet, so I cannot bring my arguments,” Zakaryan is quoted in the article. 

According to the lawyer, Gnel Tevosyan has been subjected to beatings, however, there were no signs of violence on his body: “They have assaulted the boy in a way that does not leave visible marks.”

Tadevos Aleksanyan, the lawyer of another indicted trainee Mesrop Azaryan, appealed the latest decision to extend the term of his client's imprisonment at the Court of Appeal yesterday, April 1. Aleksanyan also claims that Azaryan has no connection to the murder. 

Son of an NSS employee Norayr Sahakyan's lawyer, Hovik Arsenyan, ensures, that not only the suspects, but also the witnesses have been subjected to beatings, stating that an atmosphere of fear has been created at the Military Institute. Arsenyan also said that according to the results of forensic examinations, the boys were under the influence of alcohol on the day of the murder. However, according to the lawyer, his client has assured him that he did not drink any alcohol. 

Nevertheless, the victim's father, Arkadi Barseghyan, does not trust the claims of the lawyers that their clients have been subjected to violence at the Institute immediately after the arrest. While the fact that Haykaz Barseghyan's father shares such confidential information with the press is surprising to the defense attorneys: “And why does not the investigative body do anything about it?” Ara Zakaryan asked. 

It is obvious that there is lack of information around the case, Syuzan Simonyan writes. To date, the Investigative Committee has only shared that a criminal case been launched pursuant to the point 7 of Article 104.2 of the Armenian Criminal Code (murder by a group of people or by an organized group), that Vache Sahakyan, Movses Azaryan, Gnel Tevosyan, and Norik Sahakyan, and later Captain Artyom Avetisyan, an officer at the Vazgen Sargsyan Military Institute, have been arrested. Avetisyan has been charged with abuse of power, transgression of authority or administrative dereliction.