Defense lawyers of Stepan Hovakimyan and Vahram Qerobyan, who are charged for theft of 5 million 80 000 AMD and 10 000 Russian Rubles from the Moscow Cinema and who are under preliminary detention for one year, hope that the hearing in the Court of First Instance that will restart on February 22, will bring a positive resolution to their clients.
This was announced at the special press conference held on February 16 at the Office of Chamber of Advocates by the defense lawyers involved in the case Tigran Safaryan and Givi Hovhannisyan.
In 2010 Judge Armen Kachatryan moved to another court after number of court hearings of the case and now the case will be examined at the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash Administrative Districts by Judge Mkhitar Papoyan.
Defense lawyers continue to insist that their clients are innocent and cannot be charged by the Article 38 part 3 and Article 177 part 3 (1) of the Criminal Code of Armenia because defense lawyers of the accusing party do not prove their guilt.
Defense lawyers assure that in the video and audio records shot by the video cameras of Moscow Cinema and attached to the criminal files only one man is recorded and it is not clear whether it is Mr. Hovakimyan or not. Defense lawyer Safaryan says that Hovakimyan refused to give self-incriminating testimony twice and only after third attempt when his parents and defense lawyers had no information about his whereabouts for 10 hours, the police officers pressured him by using violence to confess he is guilty. Defense lawyers qualify it as a self -slander.
"Hovakimyan posed a logical question -why in the written testimony he indicated that they have stolen 4.5 million AMD while as a matter of fact it was 5 million 80 000 AMD stolen. It means that he wrote what was told to write, the police officers did not know the exact sum" says Mr. Safaryan.
Later in the court Mr. Hovakimyan declared that he has written the self incriminating explanations and testimony under the physical and psychological pressure, beating and torture.
"Three or four police officers started to beat me; all of them were criminal investigation officers. They have taken out my shoes and were beating with rubber truncheon under my feet and kicking on my head with their boots. After a while they took me to their chief Antonyan again. He ordered them to continue beating me even more severely and also bring in Gohar, my girl-friend. Antonyan also said them to undress me and subject to disrespectful actions", said Mr. Hovakimyan at the Court.
It is worthy to mention that Hovakimyan's father and defense lawyers have presented the case to the Commissioner on Human Right of the Council of Europe Thomas Hammerberg while his recent visit to Armenia.
Hovakimyan's father Beniamin Hovakimyan, who is a programmer, started a special blog and posted there all the materials related to the case.