On December 18, 2012, the Shirak Regional Court of General Jurisdiction (chaired by judges Martin Maroyan, Harutyun Movsisyan and Armen Khachatryan) announced the verdict on the well-known case of “Mataghis”.
The Court acquitted Araik Zalyan, Razmik Sargysan and Musa Serobyan who were accused of murdering two of their fellow conscript soldiers in 2003 at Mataghis military unit.
To remind, the charges were largely based on the self-incriminatory testimony of Razmik Sargsyan obtained under torture and violence. Sargsyan stated several times that on April 19, 2004 when he was initially interrogated as a witness, he had been subjected to brutal beatings, psychological pressure and threats for several days by the investigators of the military prosecutor’s officeand was forced to confess to the crime and to indicate Serobyan and Zalyan as accomplices. The latters also stated that they had been tortured during interrogations by investigating officers but they never pleaded guilty.
On May 13, 2005 the Syuniq Regional Court of General Jurisdiction sentenced Razmik Sargsyan, Musa Serobyan and Araik Zalyan for 15 years of imprisonment on charges of murdering their fellow conscripts Roman Eghiazaryan and Hovsep Mkrtchyan.
The Military Prosecutor’s Office (headed by then Military Prosecutor Gagik Jhangiryan) appealed the court decision and motioned to sentence the defendants to life-imprisonment. On May 30, 2006 the Court of Appeals changed the sentence to life imprisonment. However, in December 2006, the Court of Cassation dismissed the court decision, sent the case for re-investigation, and ordered the release of the defendants. In course of the re-investigation, new charge of causing serious bodily harm that caused death were brought against Sargsyan, Serobyan and Zalyan. In May 2008 a new trial started in the Shirak Regional Court. The court pronounced on the case on December 18, 2012.
The President of the Civil Society Institute NGO Arman Danielyan told www.hra.am that they were satisfied with the verdict but the judicial proceeding that had lasted for nine years caused serious moral damage to three young men.
“Innocent people spent two years and eight months in detention. Besides, no independent, thorough and effective investigation has been conducted on their torture allegations”, says Mr. Danielyan and adds they expect that after the acquittal real murderers will finally be ridentified and hold accountable.