“Arayik Khandoyan was subjected to violence and torture in the most cruel and most inhuman manner …”

On October 10, 2018, Arayik Khandoyan, with the nickname “Lonely Wolf”, passed away unexpectedly. He had health problems that had acquired during the war, but his health became worse after June 28, 2017 when about 15 policemen brutally beat and tortured him in a cell of the court building.

“Arayik Khandoyan was subjected to violence and torture in the most cruel and merciless manner. Most injuries were in the head, kidneys and abdomen. The reason for the beating was the following: when the defendants Areg Kyureghyan and Smbat Barseghyan were being taken out from the courtroom by beating, Arayik Khandoyan exclaimed, “What are you doing?” said Khandoyan’s lawyer Arayik Papikyan in his conversation with Forrights.am.

Khandoyan did not receive proper medical care, the necessary medicines were not provided, and the nurse that visited him was limiting his actions only with measuring Khandoyan’s blood pressure. According to the defenders, Araik Khandoyan needed immediate medical attention.

“I am convinced that during this torture, my client got concussion because, after that, Khandoyan was constantly complaining about headaches, dizziness and nausea. We have repeatedly voiced that his head needed to be examined, but we did not achieve any results,” said the lawyer Ara Gharagyozyan.

The conditions of Arayik Khandoyan’s detention were also inhuman. The defense has repeatedly warned about the bad conditions of the Nubarashen penitentiary. Nevertheless, Khandoyan spent two years there in his state of health.

Arayik Khandoyan’s attorneys were treated “impudently”

During the torture of defendants through the trial, the defense attorneys had not been spared the violence.

“When the defendants were being harassed, their attorneys were not being allowed to enter the rooms with different pretexts, the policemen behaved quite impudently with the lawyers. They were shouting at us, blaspheming, jerking, and obstructing our mobility. This could not be accidental … There was a clear order to rebuke, to silence Khandoyan and several members of the Sasna Tsrer group, along with their attorneys,” said Arayik Papikyan.

Torture could not remain without consequences …

According to preliminary data, Arayik Khandoyan died of heart attack. According to the doctors of the Gyumri Medical Center, Khandoyan was brought to the hospital already dead.

The defense party is currently awaiting the outcome of forensic medical examination but has a conviction that the torture committed a year ago could not remain without consequences.

An expert and two representatives were invited during the autopsy yesterday. Defender Papikyan, for confidentiality and ethics reasons, avoided relaying other information and details, but stressed:

“At this moment, we have certain information, but we will wait for the forensic medical examination results. If they do not satisfy us then we will publish our information,” said Papikyan.

The Special Investigative Service, on the incident between the detainees accused of armed seizure of a police station and the police officers, filed a criminal case a few days after the incident–on July 3, 2017— pursuant to Article 309 (2) of the Criminal Code (abuse of the official powers coupled with violence, usage of weapon or special means).

During the interview with Forrights.am the investigative service informed that the examination of the case is at the stage of preliminary investigation. Commander of the Yerevan Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Armen Ghazaryan was charged under Article 309 (torture) of the Criminal Code. The preliminary investigation is in the final stage and the case will be sent to the court soon.

Actually, out of about 15 policemen who tortured 4 detainees only one person is being charged.

Artsakh war participant, freedom fighter Arayik Khandoyan has been awarded with the “Artsakh” and “Bravery” medals, “Military Service” award, “General Andranik”, “Marshal Baghramyan” and other orders, which he refused to accept due to the policy carried out by the Armenian and Artsakh authorities.

Araik Khandoyan will be buried in Yerablur military pantheon.

Roza Vardanyan

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