“Perhaps after a fair trial, the brutal suicide killings in the army will be stopped.” Five years after the assassination of Haykaz Barseghyan

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In two months, it will be the 5th anniversary of the assassination of cadet Haykaz Barseghyan, but the trial is still ongoing. Trial sessions are periodically adjourned during the four years of the trial, similar motions are submitted to the court, and the subjects that have already been examined are re-examined.

Today, five years after his son’s death, Haykaz’s father, Arkady Barseghyan, demands only a fair trial, expecting the court to “punish those who killed my son with such cruelty.”

“After a fair trial, suicides in the army, brutal murders under the guise of suicide, may be stopped, and eventually the government may turn its attention to tortures in the army. Everyone should see what kind of punishment they deserve,” Arkady Barseghyan told Forrights.

Four years ago, on the night of January 28, 2015, at the Vazgen Sargsyan Military Institute, 19-year-old cadet Haykaz Barseghyan was brutally killed. That morning, his body was found hanging from a bodybuilders’ turret.

Barseghyan’s fellow servicemen Vache Sahakyan, Movses Azaryan, Norik Sahakyan and Gnel Tevosyan were indicted. According to the indictment, the defendants beat Haykaz, cut his veins, and then carried the corpse and hung it on a turret to create the impression of suicide.

The brother’s murder had a profound effect on David, who was 14 years old at the time. “My little boy was interested in serving in the army before the incident, but now he says, ‘Dad, I’ll go to work in the morning, but at night, I need to be at home.’ My child has a fear of what will happen after the “Sleep!” order. “

“I was told if my son confessed, do you know how they would deal with him in the prison?”

None of the parents or family members of the four defendants visited Barseghyan for nearly five years. Only once Arkady, given the positive characteristics of Norik Sahakyan, one of the defendants, met with the Sahakyans on his own initiative. According to Arkady, Norik’s mother “confessed” at that time;

“Norik’s mother said, ‘If my son confesses, do you know how they will deal with him in the prison, especially if they know he is a policeman’s son?” If it wasn’t a confession by her, what else was it? She said that much, but in the end insisted that her son was innocent. Well, if everybody is innocent, who killed my son? I tell them, if one of the superiors has committed the murder, but puts the blame on you, I don’t want to ruin the lives of innocent people,” said the father.

The 30 witnesses in the case almost unanimously said: “We were afraid that we would have the same fate”

On November 28, 2015, the trial of Haykaz Barseghyan or the famous “Cadet Case” began. The criminal case was initially opened not as suicide but as murder, and the investigating body charged four of Barseghyan’s fellow servicemen Vache Sahakyan, Movses Azaryan, Norik Sahakyan and Gnel Tevosyan. The latter is the son of one of the senior officials of the Institute, the deputy head of the institute’s armament Zarmik Markosyan. After the murder, Zarmik Markosyan was fired. A criminal case has also been instituted against him for creating favorable conditions for his son at the institute.

In their pre-trial testimony, thirty witnesses in the case reported almost identical accounts of how the incident happened. Many of the witnesses refused to testify in court in the presence of the defendants. Witnesses are the cadets who were at the scene of the murder in the 408th bedroom. They all reported that Gnel, Norik, Vache and Moses brutally beat Haykaz, then cut his veins, after which they were scared of what they had done and decided to cover up the murder by “suicide”.

 “They said let’s throw him down from the second floor. Then they changed their mind and decided to get down to the gym and hang him. Haykaz was dragged out of the bedroom. He probably was not breathing anymore at that time because he was not moving,” the witnesses noted.

Asked by the trial court why no one of the witnesses had spoken and tried to help Haykaz, the 30 witnesses almost unanimously said that they were afraid they would get the same fate.

“They’re constantly delaying; they are investigating this again, that again – always the same, the same… “

The hearings presided over by Davit Harutyunyan at the Court of General Jurisdiction of Avan, Yerevan, are regularly postponed. Today was no exception. At a previous hearing, the court ruled to uphold the defense’s motion and re-examine the rope made from military shoe ties on which Haykaz allegedly hung.

The next hearing will also be postponed due to DNA testing. This frustrates the student’s father. Arkady notes that the attorneys show a tendency to prolong the trial proceedings:

“They’re constantly delaying. They are investigating this again, that again. Always the same, the same. But instead, they could have published the pre-trial testimony of a key witness in the case Samvel Serobyan. They haven’t been able to bring him to the court for three years, but the man has visited Armenia several times,” Barseghyan says furiously.

Samvel Serobyan was sleeping in the same bedroom with the murdered Haykaz Barseghyan. During the preliminary investigation he testified against the defendants in the case, which caused considerable controversy. Serobyan appeared in court only once, but his health worsened and he was taken to hospital by ambulance.

According to the victim’s legal successor’s lawyer Ani Torosyan, the court has not yet published Serobyan’s pre-trial testimony as it still hopes to secure his presence in court, but agrees with his client, the trial is prolonged and prolonged.

It should be noted that in the Datalex.am judicial information database, the trial days are no longer updated. Last update was on April 15.

The defendants do not admit the charges, saying the case is fabricated

None of the four defendants in the case accepted the charges against them, stressing that “the case is fabricated” and that they were completely innocent. Norik Sahakyan, one of the defendants, refused to be interrogated. The defendants stated that they had been tortured by the Military Police and forced to admit the crime they had not committed. The case is currently in the Special Investigative Service, there are no accused and suspects in the case, the investigation is continuing.

Ani Torosyan, a representative of the victim’s legal successor, also links the periodic postponement of the hearings to the decision on penitentiary institution. According to the lawyer, the court may be waiting to see if the fact of the boys’ torture is proved.

Notwithstanding these circumstances, the aggrieved party declares that they will seek the most severe punishment from the court:

“You have to judge them and sentence for life so that it can be a lesson for others,” said Arkady Barseghyan.

Roza Vardanyan

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