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How will the Russian Serviceman’s “Suicide” be Investigated in Armenia? 

The prosecutor’s office of Shirak Marz informs that on July 4, at around 5pm, the body of 20-year-old S. Sakhilyov, serviceman of the Russian Federation serving at Military Base N 102 was found hanging in the apartment he rents. 

The law enforcement bodies also found a letter. A criminal investigation file has opened based on Article 110 of the Criminal Code (Impelling to Suicide). The Armenian law enforcement bodies are investigating the case, no further details are available for releasing.

The investigation of crimes involving the Russian servicemen that were committed outside the Russian military base’s territory, are investigated by the Armenian law enforcement bodies as is stipulated in Armenian-Russian treaties.

Human rights defender Artur Sakunts raises doubts about the effectiveness of the  upcoming investigation.

“It has always been the Armenian side that has been investigating incidents that occurred outside the Military base. The question is, to what extent has the Armenian side been free in its actions? Did it have an opportunity to conduct a comprehensive investigation? Were the investigative actions limited, or were they free of any obstructing circumstance and were carried out in accordance with law?” 

It is very interesting to observe how the law enforcement bodies will operate. The criminal file over the alleged suicide of the military serviceman entails a broad investigative procedure, actions with witnesses, potential suspects etc that might be among the servicemen of the military base itself. Will the Armenian side be able to apprehend suspects that are related to the Russian military base? Will the suspects remain in the territory of the military base and not be handed over to the Armenian law enforcement as has been the case in the past? These are important questions the answers of which will be revealed in the course of investigating this case.

“One thing is clear, if a suspect is identified from the military base, and this suspect continues to remain at the base, it will surely impact the effectiveness of investigation. We will observe whether there is a pattern here.”

Even Valery Permyakov, charged for the cruel murder of an entire family in Gyumri, for robbery, illegal trespassing of the state border, carried his sentence at the base during the entire pretrial investigation. The Armenian law enforcement officers were interrogating him at the Russian base, even the simulation of the murder was organized at the base and not in the victims’ house. It was an absurdity and not an investigation.

The Russian side did not allow the investigative bodies to carry out a full, effective, comprehensive and complete investigation, even in the backdrop of the huge public outcry.

So we have to yet see, how this case will be handled. The Armenian law enforcement officers operate under a huge restraint, they have to fit within the “limitations” set by the Russian side, said Artur Sakunts.