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Yerevan Man Sentenced to 11.5 Years in Prison for Ex-Wife’s Murder

A Yerevan judge on Tuesday sentenced 39-year-old Artak Arakelyan to eleven years in prison for his wife's murder; he has also been obliged by the verdict to pay compensation in the amount of AMD 1,6 million to the woman's family for her funeral expenses.

Arakelyan killed 38-year-old Heghine Darbazyan in September, 2015, by stabbing her more than 30 times with a hunting knife at her workplace in Yerevan's Malatia-Sebastia district. According to case materials, the crime was motivated by “jealousy and adultery.”

Throughout the course of his trial, the accused insistently claimed that he had killed his ex-wife out of jealousy in a state of “temporary insanity” after allegedly discovering that she had been having an affair with “some Turk named Nadik.” Despite Arakelyan's claims, however, the defense did not manage to produce any evidence during the trial to prove the adultery allegations. 

Seda Safaryan, the lawyer for the victim's legal successor, for her part, has stated on multiple occasions that Arakelyan was “clinging to lies” and using the irresistible impulse excuse to try to get away with Darbazyan's murder.

In her closing argument, Safaryan told the court yesterday that Arakelyan should be convicted of a particularly cruel murder, which provides for a sentencing range that includes life imprisonment. The lawyer insisted that the punishment of around 12 years in prison was too mild for such a vicious crime. 

“Besides, Arakelyan throwing shade at Darbazyan's character after her death in an attempt to get his punishment mitigated should also be considered an aggravating factor,” the lawyer said.

Nevertheless, Judge Papoyan went one step further by cutting the prosecution's proposed 12-year sentence to 11.5 years in prison.