Today the first court session on the case against operative police officers of Yerevan Kentron Police Department Khachik Bahbudaryan and Artak Barseghyan started at the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork Marash Administrative Districts of Yerevan. The trial is chaired by Judge Mnatsakan Martirosyan.
The operative police officers are charged under Articles 314 and 309.2 of the Armenian Criminal Code. According to the indictment, they made the official forgery and undertook actions coupled with use of violence that evidently exceeded their authority. They are in detention since 18 December 2012.
Robert Hovsepyan is recognized as a victim in the case. The prosecutor on the case is John Pharkhoyan. The court room was full of people and the overwhelming majority of them came to support the defendant police officers, some of them wore police uniforms.
To remind, on 3 October 2012 Robert Hovsepyan together with some other men was summoned to Kentron police station of Yerevan Police Department being suspected of committing a theft. According to Robert, he was interrogated in the absence of a lawyer and forced to confess in seven counts of theft. He was kept in police custody until afternoon of 4 October and was not allowed to contact his parents to notify about his arrest or to consult with a lawyer.
A couple of days later Robert told his lawyer that he had been subjected to beatings with a baton by 3-4 police officers and was hit with a metal rod on his ear. When police officers realized that he was not going to confess, they brought in two homosexuals who started doing some actions. He thought that if was supposed to be jailed in any case, it was better not to be dishonored and admitted everything. On 4 October 2012 he signed self incriminating testimony written by the investigator confessing in committing theft (7 counts). Only then he was allowed to call his parents and inform about his arrest. The fact of apprehension and arrest was officially recorded on October 4th. Then he was transferred to the Temporary Detention Facility of Police (TDF).
Following complaints on the fact of torture by police officers submitted by Robert Hovsepyan and his mother, the Armenian Prosecutor General referred the case to the Special Investigation Service (SIS). According to the conclusion of the forensic examination, there were different injuries on the young man’s body caused by beatings, in particular, bruises (including those, caused by long application of handcuffs) and scratches. On top of that, there were superficial cuts on abdomen area and his hands, inflicted by Hovsepyan himself as a sign of protest. As a result of forensic examination, hearing problems and possible rib injuries caused by beating were observed. The forensic concluded that medium gravity bodily harm with prolonged health disorder has been inflicted to Hovsepyan.
On 18 December 2012 SIS instituted a criminal case against two operative police officers of Yerevan Kentron Police Department Khachik Bahbudaryan and Artak Barseghyan.
The defense attorney of the defendants submitted a motion requesting to postpone the hearing. The defense attorney justified his motion with the need to clarify with his clients their stand regarding the charges. The next session is scheduled for 29 March 2013 at 3:00 p.m.
By Anna Melikyan