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Defendants Do Not Show Up For Trial in Karabakh War Veteran’s Murder Case

Gevorg Sargsyan, known by the nickname "Jungle", and his nephew, Sargis Ghukasyan, the defendants in the case of Karabakh War veteran Vardan Tumanyan, 55, who died one day after being brutally beaten in the Yerevan administrative district of Nor Nork in July 2014, did not show up in court on Tuesday for the second hearing. Note, the two men were released from prison on their own recognizance in April, 2015. 

The accused did not explain the reasons for their absence; meanwhile, defense attorney Karen Mkrtchayn informed the court his clients had been poisoned and were hospitalized.

However, Marieta Tumanyan, the sister of the late war veteran, stated in court she possessed information according to which Jungle had been in a car accident and sustained bodily injuries.

State prosecutor Aleksander Azaryan motioned to bring the defendants in; presiding judge Davit Harutyunyan stated he would issue a corresponding decision if the accused failed to appear at the next hearing on September 2.

At the next hearing the court will also consider the motion by the representative of the victim's legal successor, Tanya Melkumyan, to conduct a third forensic medical examination with the participation of an independent foreign expert.

“There are two conflicting examinations present in the case – a forensic medical and one [conducted by a committee]. According to the first examination Tumanyan died as a result of injuries caused by the beating. However, the second examination showed that Tumanyan had a birth defect. Our Criminal Procedure Code requires that the conclusion of the expert should note the technique used, which had not been done. In addition to motioning to court for a follow-up examination, we’ve also turned to foreign experts group. We haven’t received a written foreign opinion yet, but they’ve verbally told us that it is absurd to consider the death a consequence of a birth defect. They have even asked us to re-send the materials because they could do not believe [the wording],” Tumanyan's family attorney Tigran Muradyan said.

Note, following the results of the examination according to which Vardan Tumanyan's death was caused by a birth defect, the charges against the accused of intentionally causing grievous bodily harm were changed, and the defendants are now accused of causing intentional bodily injury of medium gravity to the deceased.