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Yerevan Man Charged With Former Wife’s Stabbing Death

In September, 2015, Yerevan resident Artak Arakelyan, 39, killed his former wife, 38-year-old Heghine Darbazyan, by stabbing her more than 30 times with a hunting knife. According to case materials, the crime was motivated by “jealousy and adultery.”

On January 27, Yerevan's Malatia-Sebastia district court began Arakelyan's trial; however, the first hearing was adjourned until mid-February due to the prosecutor's absence.

Talking to reporters, the victim's sister, Kristine Darbazyan, said that Heghine and her estranged husband lived irreconcilably for many years. Arakelyan, Darbazyan added, periodically threatened to kill Heghine, and in 2015, following a yet another argument, the woman filed a police report, claiming that she was being harassed and threatened by her former husband. Arakelyan was called in to the station, where police “talked to him” and demanded that he stay away from Darbazyan. The former spouses, as stated by the speaker,  were in an on-again/off-again relationship; however, they were separated at the time of the murder.

Seda Safaryan, the lawyer for the victim's successor, told reporters that the murder investigation was “rather faulty:” “The accusation has been formulated in such a way as if the murder was committed on grounds of [Heghine’s] adultery. The preliminary investigation, however, had no substantial evidence supporting this claim and based it entirely on Artak Arakelyan's testimony,” the attorney said.

Safaryan added that in 2010, police had launched a case based on Heghine Darbazyan's assault report; however, the case was subesquently discontinued for unknown to the lawyer reasons. Law enforcement officials refused to provide Safaryan with the 2010 case materials since “criminal cases carry statutes of limitation of no longer than 3 years.” The preliminary body, as stated by the lawyer, did not bring up the victim's 2010 complaint either.

“Basically, police did not consider it a real threat; if they did, [the murder] could have possibly been prevented. The police officer should have had redirected the case to investigation authorities to assess the seriousness of the murder threats. [Heghine’s death] is a result of the law enforcement's indifference,” Safaryan told Epress.am.

Artak Alakelyan faces charges of violating Part 1, Article 104 of Armenia's Criminal Code (intentional unlawful deprivation of a person's life) which envisages imprisonment for 8 to 15 years. Lawyer Safaryan, however, finds this punishment to be mild since, she said, Darbazyan's murder was committed with particular cruelty. The corresponding point in the Article on murder provides for up to 20 years or life in prison.