On December 8, 2019, the Appeals Court freed Garik Babakhanyan sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment by the court of first instance. Garik was involved in the group incident on Mashtots Avenue in September 2015 engaging also former MP of “Prosperous Armenia” faction Gurgen Arsenyan. The Court also changed the duration of the sentence terms of the other defendants.
“Thank you, good-bye!” says Babakhanyan’s mother embracing her son.
Garik Babakhanyan was charged by Criminal Code’s Article 176, Part 1 (robbery), and Article 258, Part 3, Clauses 1 and 2 (hooliganism). He has already served 3 years in the prison.
“I was expecting the Court to adopt this kind of a ruling, because the evidences in the case showed no other outcome. There was no evidence proving that he participated in hooliganism. It turns out, he has spent an extra year in the prison,” says Vardan Zournachyan, Babakhanyan’s defender.
The official accusation was that on September 19, 2015, early in the morning Andranik Gabrielyan, together with Samvel Safaryan, Hakob Boyajyan and Garik Babakhanyan assaulted and beat up Rubik Arakelyan and stole his telephone. 1 hour later their gang found themselves on Mashtots Avenue, where they met an acquaintance of theirs, Gevorg Margaryan. A quarrel broke out between them which ended up in fistfighting.
At that exact time, former MP Gurgen Arsenyan and his body guard Avetis Galstyan were driving by and stopped to interfere into the fistfighting. According to the court case available on Datalex, the gang ignored the calls of these two men to stop fighting and “told them swearwords of sexual nature and threats of physical violence.” Then Andranik Gabrielyan pulled his knife on MP’s bodyguard and hit his chest and “inflicted an injury of medium severity.” During this time, MP Gurgen Arsenyan took his gun out of the car, after which the gang dispersed.
Andranik Gabrielyan was sentenced to 16 years of imprisonment. His term has also been changed by the Appeals Court.
Tigran Sargsyan, defender of Andranik mentioned that it is not clear by how many years exactly his defendant’s term has been reduced as the Court only read the new qualifications of his deed. When they receive the final ruling, he will be able to clearly state how many years Andranik still has to serve. “It would be around 8 years or so. We are satisfied with the ruling of the court, however our final say will be after having received the ruling in written. Andranik was earlier charged with an attempt of murder, which the Appeals Court has probably found ungrounded for lack of evidence. The strike with the knife was of medium severity to the health.”
Those charged acknowledge that they participated in a group beating, however they claim that the punishment is exaggerated. Their relatives contend that the decisions of the investigators and the judges were influenced by MP Arsenyan’s factor.