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Armenian Doctor Convicted in Scandalous Murder Case Might Not Appeal Sentence

Vladimir Ghukasyan, a medical doctor convicted of negligence and improper implementation of professional duties and sentenced to 3 years' imprisonment in the murder case of 15-year-old Yerevan resident Davit Hovakimyan, is doubtful whether he should appeal the verdict, lawyer Ruben Hakobyan told Epress.am on Thursday, May 28.

According to Hakobyan, the court's ruling “is absolutely illegal,” and was made under pressure from the prosecutor's office. In reality, as stated by the lawyer, there was no direct causal link between Ghukasyan's actions and the teenager's death.

“The basis for our appeal has already been prepared, however, it's possible that we don't send it, since we don't pin any hopes on the Court of Appeal. One of the main reasons for not appealing is that Ghukasyan is 62 years old, and when the ruling comes into force, the convict will be transferred to an open prison, while if we appeal, he'll be taken to “Nubarashen” penitentiary, and we all know what the situation there is,” the lawyer said, adding that Ghukasyan suffers from multiple health problems, which have only worsened during his imprisonment.

Note, charges against Vladimir Ghukasyan were brought one month after Davit Hovakimyan's death. Until then, the only suspect in the murder case was Vanadzor resident Karen Kungortsev. Charges against Kungortsev were changed from murder to attempted murder; however, the defendant does not admit guilt and claims he is innocent. While behind bars, the accused has resorted to self-harm, as well as beginning a hunger strike. His mother said that her son was beaten by police while under police custody and forced to confess.

Nearly all 30 witnesses in the case said during testimony that they had not seen the accused at the crime scene, nor did they recognize him. Two other witnesses stated that they had seen Kungortsev near the boarding school about 500 meters from the scene, the defendant’s lawyer Arayik Papikyan told Epress.am.