Witness to the murder of the 43-year-old Poghos Poghosyan, a national of Georgia and member of Armenian Revolutionary Federation political party in 2001, is in Armenia and willing to repeat his testimony discarded by presiding Judge Mnatsakan Martirosyan 18 years ago from the court trial of a murder on the ground that it was in English, reports Radio Liberty.
British citizen Stephen Newton, who in 2001 was a guest lecturer at the Public Administration Academy, was at Paplavok cafe on the evening of the brutal beating of Poghos Poghosian to death by Robert Kocharyan’s bodyguards, which he witnessed. Poghos Poghosyan had approached Charles Aznavour and Robert Kocharyan and said “Privet, Rob! (What’s up Rob!)”
Newton asserts that after the Velvet Revolution, last year, he sent a letter to Prime-Minister Pashinyan repeating his testimony, but did not receive an answer.
In an interview with Radio Liberty Yerevan, Newton said: “On that September day of 2001, I was at Paplavok jazz café with a group of friends, including artists, sculptors, having a good time. Kocharyan arrived with his entourage. Aznavour was with him, everyone gave an applause to this nice old man. They sat at a table. Earlier that evening, two other men that knew Kocharyan from before had entered the café and were celebrating some occasion. Apparently, they approached Kocharyan’s table and said “Privet Rob!” or something of that sort. He got insulted. When Kocharyan left, we were sitting on the ground floor right in front of the men’s toilet and the stairs exiting to the street. The men who greeted Kocharyan left after him but then returned, they were pushed by the bodyguards to the men’s toilet.
My wife said they would kill them. I couldn’t believe that, so I said: “Not as long as I am here.” I ran down and entered the toilet. This man called Kuku was hitting the second men with the back of his gun. Poghos Poghosyan was on the floor, almost dead, his head was swollen. I shouted out, called for help. They didn’t know who I was. I think they thought I was an ambassador, because I had an official attire. My wife came after me to check out what was happening with me. She was anxious. I asked her to call an ambulance. The doctors arrived quickly, but that man died. I walked up the stairs…”
“Liberty” – Did they confirm his death?
Newton – Yes.
“Liberty” – Did you hear that?
Newton – Yes.
The 74-year-old Stephen Newton is recalling that with the help of the Ambassador of the UK he left the country for Romania on the next day for fear of his safety. Newton, however, wrote down an affidavit at the presence of the Consul of Britain in Romania and sent to Armenia. The testimony, a copy of which Newton holds, was available to Ruben Sahakyan, the attorney of Poghos Poghosyan, the victim in this case, who was not able to include it in the court investigation. Ruben Sahakyan is now representing the interests of Kocharyan.
Newton was never invited to give a testimony.
Aghamal Harutyunyan, known by his nickname Kuku was the only person from Robert Kocharyan’s bodyguards charged with the most minor charges of the Criminal Code possible. Article 103 of the Criminal Code was brought against him for involuntary manslaughter for which he was punished to 2 years of conditional sentence. The foreign witness is surprised, in his country a much more severe punishment is used for even an insult to someone.
The British national recalls that on that day he met Davit Harutyunyan, the Minister of Justice of that time in the café. The latter did not react to his assertions that a man just got murdered in the café and that police forces should be called.
Minister of Justice Harutyunyan did not react and left, said Newton. “I called out, because the jazz band was still playing. I yelled: “Why are you continuing listening to the music when these bustards just killed a man here?” The music stopped, everyone was surprised. Then I left.”