Detainee of “Nubarashen” penitentiary institution Robert Hovsepyan who went on termless hunger strike since 9 January 2013 terminated the hunger strike on 12 January being persuaded by his defense attorney.
28 year-old young man is charged for theft under Article 177.3 (1.1) of the Armenian Criminal Code. However he states that he is innocent and his self-incriminatory testimonies were extracted through torture. Pre-trial investigation confirmed that Hovsepyan had been subjected to physical violence. Criminal case has been instituted against two police officers of criminal investigation department of Kentron police station of Yerevan.
Robert Hovsepyan's defense attorney Sargis Khachatryan states that in course of the criminal investigation against his client, a number of violations were committed by the investigation body. Firstly, Hovsepyan was summoned to the Kentron police station not on 4 October, 2012 as it is indicated in the case files but on 3 October and this fact was confirmed in course of the pre-trial investigation. Hovsepyan told the defense attorney that he had been unlawfully detained at the police station for one day. He was not allowed to call his parents, was deprived of the right to have defense attorney. His self incriminating testimonies were extracted through torture.
“According to Hovsepyan, he was beaten at the police station by 3-4 police officers with a baton; he was hit at his ear with metal rod. When they realized he was not going to confess, they brought in two homosexuals who tried to do 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, the investigator wrote the self incriminating testimony, and Robert signed”, earlier told www.hra.am the defense attorney.
When admitted to the Temporary Detention Facility of the Police (TDF), Hovsepyan underwent medical examination. In the medical checkup records the doctor recorded bruises under Hovsepyan's eye, on the hands and other parts of the body, injuries of ribs and an ear. He explained that these injuries were sustained as a result of violence inserted by police officers of the Kentron police station.
Hovespyan made a suicide attempt at TDF. In the decision of the invetsigator on 6 October 2012 on involving him as an accused he wrote by his hand that had not committed a theft, did not plead guilty and signed the confession as a result of being subjected to beating.
Special Investigation Service (SIS) compiled materials on the fact of being subjected to violence and Hovsepyan was referred for the forensic examination. The examination concluded that medium gravity bodily harm with prolonged health disorder has been inflicted.
On 18 December, 2012 SIS instituted a criminal case against two operative police officers of Yerevan Kentron Police Department Khachik Bahbudaryan and Artak Barseghyan. They are charged with Article 309 (2) and Article 314 of the Armenian Criminal Code (Exceeding official authorities with use of violence and official forgery).
During the pre-trial investigation 6 out of 7 counts of theft underlay in the Hovsepyan’s indictment were dropped.
«They proceeded with only one count that we considered as the most absurd one and we expected it to be dropped first of all», told www.hra.am the defense attorney. He believes the charge is ungrounded and the evidence is inadmissible and incomplete.
«For example, there are identifying witnesses on the case who do not exist. The victim in one of the 7 counts is the owner of the apartment where a theft occurred and he is also a witness in another count. He used to work at the Kentron police station and states that he bought a stolen notebook from Hovsepyan. We have a reasonable suspicion that he had connections with the operative police officers and requested the transcripts of their phone calls. To avoid a big «explosion», this part is not disclosed...», says Sargis Khachatryan and adds that there are versions that were not examined during the pre-trial investigation.
According to the defense attorney, one of the reasons to go on hunger strike, was the death of Robert Hovsepyan's father on 1 January 2013. This seriously affected the young man’s psychological state. Family members believe that Robert’s father died unexpectedly in result of nervous breakdown caused by his son's situation.
On 9 January 2013 it was announced that the pre-trial investigation was completed. The defense attorney is entitled by law to appeal against the decision or present motions within 5 days. Hovsepyan's mother applied to the Armenian Chief of Police, Prosecutor General and the Ombudsman with the demand of justice.
The defense attorney has appealed in the higher courts against the decision on choosing arrest as a measure of restraint in respect of Robert Hovsepyan. The Court of Appeal dismissed the complaint and the answer from the Court of Cassation is still pending.