The trial is almost over: there are many questions remain


The trial on the case of theft committed from the «Moscow» cinema lasted for more than 2.5 years underwent pivotal changes in recent months. One of the defendants, Stepan Hovakimyan gave a self-incriminating testimony. While the prosecutor Ashot Galstyan refused the charges brought against Vahram Кerobyan on the court session of September 6.

The articles that are in the ground of charges were also changed. Thus, the Article 38 (Accomplices) of the RA Criminal Code has been canceled. The only accused in the case is Stepan Hovakimyan who is charged with the theft committed in particularly large amount (Article 177.3 (1) and is punished with imprisonment for the term of 4 to 8 years, with or without confiscation of property.

To remind, Stepan Hovakimyan and Vahram Qerobyan  are charged for theft of 5 million 80 thousand ADM and 10 000 RUB from the «Moscow» cinema. They have spent more than two years in preliminary detention. The ground for detention was Hovakimyan's self-incriminatory testimony which he insisted was extorted in result of torture.  

Until July 26, 2012 no other evidence proving the guilt was presented at the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork Marash administrative districts. Meanwhile, Vahram Qerobyan ’s mother Rusanna Qerobyan  testified at the court and said that Hovakimyan gave the key of the cash desk of the cinema and convinced him to enter the cash desk and commit a theft. Qerobyan  had refused.

Prior to this testimony, Hovakimyan made an attempt of self-injury at the court room. The same day Qerobyan  was released on bail. During the court session of August 30 Hovakimyan confessed his guilt and confirmed that Qerobyan  is innocent. Everything looks to be done in the bounds of law but many questions remained without answers.

Why Qerobyan ’s mother who cried every time she saw her son behind the bars testified about Hovakimyan's guilt and innocence of her son only after 2, 5 year of silence? Why the prosecution considered Qerobyan  equally guilty and rejected his mother’s testimony about his innocence and that he would not abscond the investigation? Why everyone at the court was silent about the fact that no other evidences exist in the case, the sum that was taken is not proved and there is a video showing that neither Qerobyan nor Hovakimyan had committed the theft. Why Qerobyan  was deprived of his liberty for 2.5 years if he is innocent? 

These questions were not answered at the court. Neither the parties of the case provide the answers. Silence and locked doors of the court rooms after the sessions and followed discussion raised the question that those who are silent posses the information. 

Defense lawyer Lusine Sahakyan who was involved recently to Qerobyan ’s case provided with just one answer to the questions posed by .

“We cannot tell why there was nothing so far because we were not involved from the beginning. Our client had not committed a crime and he should have not been deprived of his liberty. Thus his mother testified and presented the reality and you see our client was acquitted”, said Sahakyan.

Hovakimyan’s father Beniamin Hovakimyan who struggles almost three years for his son’s rights is unwilling to comment. He just says that it is apparent that self-incriminating testimony raises many questions as his son insisted he is innocent for 2.5 years and his guilt was not proved during the court sessions.

The sum of the stolen money is not proved

At today's session representative of the «Moscow» cinema theatre Norayr Azatyan presented a written request to the court with the demand to seize stolen 5 million 80 thousand AMD and 10 thousand RUB. Thus he disagreed with Hovakimyan’s testimony where the latter insisted that had stolen 2.5 million AMD and 10 thousand RUB. This request was presented by the newly appointed prosecutor Ashot Galstyan.

It has to be mentioned that the sum of the stolen money is not proved because the accountant and the cashier presented contradictory testimonies and these testimonies were changing from time to time. It was not determined who signed the documents; there are bad mistakes which are impossible if software is used, the dates indicated in the documents do not correspond to the previous testimonies given by the accountant and the cashier. There is no factual evidence proving that there were Russian rubles.

Qerobyan ’s defense lawyer Sahakyan believes that the size of the sum is not proved and the sum indicated in Stepan Hovakimyan’s testimony should be taken as a ground. While Hovakimyan’s defense lawyer Tigran Safaryan had not express any opinion, he will leave Armenia soon and another lawyer Aram Thughuryan will present Hovakimyan’s interests who is not familiar with the case materials.

As far as Tchughuryan needs time to get aquatint with the case, judge Mkhitar Papoyan decided that Azatyan's and prosecutor's request should be discussed at the next session on September 14, 14:00.  

Author Կարինե Իոնեսյան