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Prosecution Demands 14 Years for Supporter of Armenian Political Prisoners

Public prosecutor Harutyun Sargsyan called on Tuesday, August 25 for Hayk Kyureghyan, Armenian programmer and supporter of political prisoners Shant Harutyunyan and his friends, be found guilty of hooliganism and of committing violence against a representative of the authorities and be sentenced to 14 years in jail. 

The prosecutor demanded 6,5 years of imprisonment for hooliganism (RA Criminal Code Article 258 Section 4 – hooliganism, combined with medium gravity damage to the health of a person) and 8,5 years for use of violence against a representative of authorities (RA Criminal Code Article 316 Section 3). After the prosecutor's speech, those present at the trial commented sarcastically on his demanded punishment: “Might as well sentence him to life imprisonment,” “Execute the demonstrator!”

Kyureghyan himself was not present at the trial on August 25: judge Armen Bektashyan had earlier removed the defendant from the courtroom for disrespect toward the court (Kyureghyan did not stand up at the entrance of the judge). The defendant's father, Armenak Kyureghyan, was also absent from the hearing: the man was thus expressing his protest against “judicial arbitrariness.”

Public defender Anzhela Hobosyan, on the other hand, attended the trial; however, the lawyer did not present a defensive argument since Kyureghyan has not authorized Hobosyan to act as his legal representative. 

In a conversation with journalists following the argument of the state prosecutor, Hobosyan said she could not asses the severity of the proposed punishment since the defendant's guilt was not proven in the course of the trial. The prosecution, the public defender noted, relies entirely on the testimonies of police officers present at the scene; meanwhile, as stated by Hobosyan, the defense did not perform counteractions in mitigation of the sentence.

At the same time, Armenak Kyureghyan said the petition to sentence his son to 14 years of imprisonment was a politically motivated decision, which for him was not a surprise at all. The defendant's father expressed the hope that “the ruling regime would not last for another 14 years,” his son would be freed, and everyone would live in a free country. 

The session has been adjourned until September 11 when the judge is expected to hand down the verdict. 

Recall, at the start of the June 12 hearing in the case of Shant Harutyunyan and his friends, Kyureghyan climbed onto a car outside the courthouse and shot rounds from an air pistol in the police's direction, attempting, he said, to prevent "an erroneous judgment on Shant."

Kyureghyan informed head of a group of civil society members monitoring conditions in Armenian prisons and detention centers Hasmik Sahakyan, who had come to visit him at the Erebuni temporary detention center, that he was ill-treated during and after the arrest.