Photo by hra.am
On 15 October, the Court of First Instance of Armavir marz (chaired by Judge Vahe Khalatyan) pronounced the verdict on the case of “haystack”.
The court found Aram Moughalyan, Robert Piloyan, Gagik Arakelyan and Artur Qlyan guilty of all charges against them and convicted them as follows: 2,5 years of imprisonment for Moughalyan and Pilonyan, and 1 year and 1 month of imprisonment for Arakelyan and Qlyan. As the amnesty for the 22nd anniversary of independence was applicable to them, the court relived them from serving the punishment and released them in the courtroom.
Aram Moughalyan, after almost 6 month of imprisonment, in its interview to journalists said that he was not satisfied with the court ruling and he intended to struggle until being acquitted. “It looks as they take an innocent person, bring him and close him for a half year, and then announce ‘there is an amnesty, go out, and be thankful that we have released you so soon.”
In his opinion, if there was no amnesty, then probably they would have been sentenced conditionally, because of the noise made by this absurd case they could not convict them for imprisonment.
“I knew that it would turn out this way, because they arrested us on no ground, very unexpectedly, they themselves did not know that they should arrest us, they received instructions from the top to arrest us and so they did it. Then, they were supposed to change the testimonies of the witnesses to bring false charges against us, so they did it. Then they came with false charges to the court and tried us, to fall on their feet, as all the media were covering the case. How could they acquit four defendants? If they did it, how many officials would be in trouble, have to quit, be disciplinary punished. It would be a huge blow on the system, and the system would not go against itself”, said Moughalyan.
He did not speak about his next steps as he had to discuss it with his lawyer. In reply to the question “why this case was loaded on them?” he quoted the investigator: “don't you think we (investigators) would take the burden of not detected crimes?”
Robert Piloyan’s mother, Marina Hakobyan, considers the verdict unfair. “Our children have not done anything, and they were kept for 6 months, and such a decision was made against them. Probably, the judge was not free in making the decision, we don't have anything against him; all was orchestrated by the supervising prosecutor”, she told to journalists.
Gagik Arakelyan is not satisfied with the verdict, too: “I did not need a release on amnesty, I needed acquittal. I believe that the higher instances would acquit us, if they don’t do so, I will apply to the European Court”, said Arakelyan. He did not wish to answer whether he had been subjected to ill-treatment or torture at the police station.
To remind, Aram Moughalyan, Robert Piloyan and Gagik Arakelyan were charged with hooliganism (Article 258 (1), 258 (3(1)), and attempt to destroy property (Articles 34 and 185 (2 (1)(2)) of the Criminal Code, while Artur Qlyan was charged only with Article 258 (1) (3)(1)).
According to the indictment, the guys on four different days traveled by car to Norapat village of Armavir marz and tried to set a fire on a haystack of the estimated cost amounting to 1.440.000 AMD which belonged to Siaband Khoudoyan, causing a material damage to him of 36.000 AMD.
At the court session on 14 October, the prosecutor demanded that Aram Moughalyan and Robert Piloyan be found guilty according to the abovementioned Articles, and convicted to imprisonment for 3 years, and fined for 70.000 AMD, and Gagik Arakelyan and Artur Qlyan be convicted to 1,5 years of imprisonment and fined for 50.000 AMD.
There are many contradictions and falsifications made during pre-trial investigation, which were pointed out by the lawyers, but the court did not pay any attention to the facts brought up by them and dismissed the motions to assign new forensic examinations.
Judge Vahe Khalatyan
Robert Piloyan with his mother Marina Hakobyan
Photos by hra.am