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Defense Attorney Alleges Armenian Veteran Died of ‘Abrasions’ Unrelated to His Brutal Beating

A defense attorney for one of the men accused of brutally beating Karabakh War veteran Vardan Tumanyan announced in court on Tuesday, September 22, that it's possible the veteran had also been beaten by other people as a result of which, he said, Tumanyan could have died. Recall, Tumanyan, 55, died in July 2014, one day after being brutally beaten in a Yerevan yard by Gevorg Sargsyan, known by the nickname "Jungle", and his nephews.

Karen Mkrtchyan, defendant Viktor Hovsepyan's attorney, said that after the incident involving his client Tumanyan had only been diagnosed with head injuries; however, after his death the forensic medical examination revealed cuts and abrasions on the veteran's body “which he could have suffered after leaving the hospital.”

“You can ask any expert – abrasions become visible immediately, which means if they were [on Tumanyan’s body] when he was taken to the hospital, they would have been recorded by the traumatologist,” Mkrtchyan stated.

Tumanyan's legal successor, his widow Tanya Melkumyan, and his sister Marieta Tumanyan were outraged by the attorney's allegations.

“This is an obscenity! To say that Vardan's death had nothing to do with them beating him but is connected to another beating is just absurd!” the victim's sister announced. 

In front of the courthouse after the hearing the woman had an altercation with the lawyer and the defendants, who'd previously been released on their own recognizance. The parties started screaming profanities at each other; the defendants' supporters urged Marieta Tumanyan to “calm down and stop yelling” and told reporters to “stop filming.”


Jungle on the left

Speaking in court attorney Karen Mkrtchyan also mentioned new circumstances which were not included in the materials of the case. The defendants, as stated by Mkrtchyan, began beating the veteran after Tumanyan himself hit Jungle thus “committing a crime.”

Representative of the victim's legal successor Tigran Muradyan, however, objected to these “new circumstances” claiming that preliminary investigation had shown Tumanyan did not commit any criminal acts.

Karen Mkrtchyan motioned for his client Viktor Hovsepyan's aqquital since, according to the attorney, Hovsepyan “was only trying to separate those fighting.” The court will consider the motion at the next hearing on September 29.

Yesterday the court postponed the consideration of the motion by the representative of the victim's legal successor to conduct a third forensic medical examination with the participation of an independent foreign expert. According to Muradyan, the motion is based on the fact that 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. 

“We expect answers to the following questions: what injuries did Vardan Tumanyan sustain? When did the death occur? What was is caused by? Was there a connection between the beating and the death, or was Tumanyan destined to die that evening, regardless of the beating?” the attorney said.