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Defendant Attempts Self-Immolation in Yerevan Court

On November 9, defendant Hrachya Gevorgyan, unable to move on his own due to poor health condition, had to rely on the help of law enforcement officers to walk into the courtroom at the start of his trial. As Epress.am was informed by Helsinki Citizens Assembly observer Arman Veziryan, Gevorgyan had brought a package with a gasoline container to the room, and as the verdict of an 8-year imprisonment was being read by Judge Marine Melkonyan, the defendant tried to commit self-immolation but was prevented from doing so by police officers who managed to take away the container.

The First Instance Court of Yerevan's Ajapnyak and Davtashen Administrative Districts found Gevorgyan guilty on charges of hostage-taking, violence against a representative of authorities, and extortion. At the same time, the defendant was acquitted of sexual assault against victim, Gevorgyan's former civil partner Naira Harutyunyan. 

Hrachya Gevorgyan, however, has denied the accusations during the entirety of the 4-year trial process; the defendant claims that Harutyunyan “organized a conspiracy” against him. He has also repeatedly stated that the former Chief of the Police Criminal Investigation Unit Artur Gevorgyan for three months attempted to convince him not to protest against the charges. Then, as stated by Gevorgyan, the former police chief decided to make threats to ensure the accused ceases his fight against the “illegality of the criminal case” against him. However, the RA Special Investigation Service did not find the convict's claims sufficient to open a criminal case against the police official.