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Mother Alleges Police Burned Her Son’s Fingers to Make Him Plead Guilty

Hovhannes Cholakhyan, who was convicted for transfer and storage of narcotic drugs but claims he is innocent, is asking to be acquitted. However, the convict's appeal has been dismissed by the RA Court of Appeal and is currently being reviewed by the Court of Cassation, Cholakhyan's attorney Seyran Azizyan said in an interview with Epress.am. 

According to the case files, Cholakhyan transferred narcotics to Hrazdan penitentiary by tossing the drugs over a fence surrounding the institution. He was detained not far from the prison – on the Sevan highway; however, Cholakhyan claims he is not guilty of the charges against him, and he only parked his car in front of the penitentiary “to answer the call of nature.” According to Seyran Azizyan, the convict in Hrazdan prison, for whom, according to the case files, the substance was meant, did not recognize Cholakhyan. 

The preliminary investigation, the attorney claimed, has collected false evidence against his client: “In particular, the signatures of the witnesses have been forged. The witnesses were staff members of the penitentiary who came to testify in court, and the signatures provided by them in court were obviously different from the signatures in the protocols. We motioned that a forensic signature examination be conducted, but the court dismissed the appeal.” According to Azizyan, no evidence was found in the course of the personal search either.

“Cholakhyan was captured on January 4, but he was soon released as there was no valid basis for the arrest. Five months later, when my client was convicted in another case, these charges were brought against him, too,” the attorney said. 

On Tuesday, May 19, Cholakhyan's mother held a sit-in in front of the Residence of the RA President demanding that her son be acquitted. “Let them dig a hole and bury me alive. My son says he can't be punished for something he did not commit. I say, let them kill me along with him,” the woman said. 

According to her, the police did everything to make Cholakhyan plead guilty. They even burned his fingers on the furnace, the mother alleged. She showed a photo of the burned fingers to an Epress.am reporter and said even after that her son did not take the blame.