“It was obvious that during the whole preliminary investigation and the trial we did not deal with the law, but it was a political order,” Jirayr Seflyan’s lawyer Arayik Papikyan told Forrights.
Days ago, the Court of Cassation ruled to suspend Jirayr Sefilyan’s criminal prosecution, considering the amnesty applied in 2018.
Back in March of last year, the First Instance Court found the commander of the Shushi battalion guilty of three counts, sentencing him to 10 years and six months in prison. Following the revolution, the Court of Appeal had removed one of the articles– seizing buildings and constructions, saying “he has given up the idea of completing his intention.” Thus, two charges remained: intention to organize mass disorder and unlawful possession of firearm within an organized group. Thus, the Court of Appeals sentenced Sefilyan to 5 years and 6 months in prison.
“We have appealed against the decision of the Court of Appeal to the Court of Cassation seeking justification. The Court of Cassation, in its turn, granted amnesty under Part 1 of 225, and lowered Part 2 of Criminal Code 235, reduced the appellant to two years of imprisonment. Since Sefilyan had served two years and 14 days in detention, the court held that he had served his sentence, and suspended the prosecution,” Papikyan explained, and said: “We will still take steps for having remained in custody for more than 14 days.”
For the lawyer, the decision of the Court of Cassation was if not a surprise, at least unexpected. Papikyan thought that partial amnesty would apply, not even ruling out that another conviction would be issued against Sefilyan:
“Deep in my soul, I did not believe there was a court today, there was a system that would acquit. Up until the Court of Appeal’s hearing, the prosecution argued that the charge was just. Although the Office of the Prosecutor had defended the charge “with its teeth”, it did not bring a complaint to the Court of Cassation when the Court of Appeal dropped the charge. If they were right and so sure, why they did not file a complaint?” says lawyer Arayik Papikyan.
Varuzhan Avetisyan, a member of the Sasna Tsrer Party, thinks that such a decision of the Court of Cassation was apparent. But it does prove that the system has no courage to re-imprison Jirayr Sefilyan.
“In all this fraud, innocent Sefilyan was found guilty instead of being acquitted, and at the same time it was satisfied, considering the sentence sufficient,” Avetisyan told Forrights.
According to him, the Velvet Revolution is now halfway through, and, if it does not completed, it will be full of new dangers.
“In order to achieve a full revolution, a legal and political assessment must be given to the former regime and its leaders, and we must see the mafia that created criminal cooperation and seized the state on the Armenian Nuremberg bench. Political and economic lustration should be carried out, the public administration system should be cleaned instead of complaining that the system is resisting and, after a few days, go and thank the National Security Service, legitimizing its activities,” Varuzhan Avetisyan says.
It should be added that the Court of Cassation also suspended criminal prosecution of civil activist Gevorg Safaryan. He had been sentenced to 5.5 years in prison.
It should be reminded also that the Court of First Instance, presided over by Judge Tatevik Grigoryan, had considered fully proved that Sefilyan had prepared mass disorders on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide by showing armed resistance to the representative of the government, using violence, destroying property, etc., and later, ahead of the Constitution referendum, illegally obtained firearms and ammunition with a view to seize buildings of strategic importance, forcing the authorities to take some actions.