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13.06.2018 | right to a fair trial

Zhirayr Sefilyan’s freedom is not final

Zhirayr Sefilyan’s freedom is not final
Today, the Court of Appeals altered the decision of the Court of First Instance, according to which Zhirayr Sefilyan was sentenced to 10.5 years of imprisonment. Under the presidency of Judge Ruzanna Barseghyan, the Court of Appeals reduced Sefilyan`s sentence to 5.5 years, while the defense was requesting full acquittal. At the same time, the court satisfied the motion of the defense team and, based on some deputies` recommendations, released Sefilyan directly from the courtroom.

This means that Sefilyan’s lawyers have a month to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeals in the Court of Cassation. If no appeal is submitted to the Court of Cassation, or if the latter does not process the appeal or, after processing, rejects it, Zhirayr Sefilyan will again appear behind the bars to carry out 5.5 years of imprisonment. At the same time, Sefilyan will be in freedom for as long as the Court of Cassation did not reject the appeal.

In his interview with Forrights.am, Zhirayr Sefilyan’s lawyer Tigran Hayrapetyan confirmed the likelihood of this scenario. “There is a sword hanging over him [Sefilyan]. This is not a justice. No court can say ‘I am detaining you and, in the meantime, I am changing your detainment’. It’s like if the Court of Appeals said my decision should be dismissed by the Court of Cassation: if it should be changed, why the Court of Appeals did not do so in the first place?” says the lawyer.

Zhirayr Sefilyan`s defenders will appeal today’s ruling of the Criminal Court of Appeals in the Cassation Court. The attorney Hayrapetyan says he cannot guess if the Court of Cassation will satisfy their appeal or deny it and put Sefilyan in custody again. According to the lawyer, it is possible that this patchy decision of the Court of Appeals is the act of the Court of Cassation, which maintains levers of influence on the other judicial instances.

Robert Ananyan
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right to a fair trial
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