The court hearings of the case of former soldier Davit Harutyunyan have been postponed for about 7 months. The last sitting of court was held in December. The successive postponements of court hearings upset the family.
His mother lives today in the hope that the court will overturn the decision of the first instance court, according to which David was sentenced to 11 years and 6 months in prison.
“At the time of the verdict announcement, I hoped that the accusation would be re-qualified, but when the number 104 was announced, I realized that everything was lost… I understand that woman (the mother of the dead soldier Aram Khachatryan-ed.), her pain is incurable. “But it was the military unit that inclined the victim’s family not to forgive us,” Ms. Lilia told Forrights.
Junior Sergeant Harutyunyan was found guilty of two counts: premeditated murder and insulting a serviceman (Article 104, Part 1 and Article 360, Part 1 of the Criminal Code of RA). The tragic incident took place in 2017 in the Mataghis military unit.
According to the accusation, Davit Harutyunyan shot and killed Aram Khachatryan with a rifle attached to him, with the motive of taking revenge and with the direct intention of killing him. According to the materials of the case, an argument took place between David and Aram for hiding cigarettes. Aram insulted and cursed David, and the latter, a few days later, took revenge:
“I found out about what happened only the next day. The investigator called and said your son had been arrested. I quickly called Gyozalyan (Commander of the Mataghis military unit Armen Gyozalyan – ed.), And he, not taking into account that my child had not even been charged yet, immediately said, “Madam, your child is a murderer.”
David, however, repeats from day one that he fired accidentally. According to his pre-trial testimony, Aram jokingly took the shovel, as if he wanted to hit him, and he, not knowing that the weapon was loaded, raised it, and an accidental shot was fired.
During the preliminary investigation, this hypothesis was refuted, the initial qualification of the act was changed. The article on “Hooligan incitement” originally proposed became “Premeditated” murder․
“I talked to my son about the incident; he says I would never do such a thing. It was an accidental shot, a careless joke, but, I do not know why, no one believes my child. David had no intentions [to fire a shot]”
According to the mother, the son served excellently for 1 year and 3 months, received good characterizations and received the rank of junior sergeant. He did not complain about the service, did not have tense relations with his colleagues.
The Harutyunyans’ lawyer Ani Torosyan filed an appeal against the first instance court’s verdict in November last year. The basis of the complaint were the contradictory testimonies of the witnesses in the case, giving a wrong legal assessment to the act, and imposing a severe punishment.
The court stated in point 10 of the verdict that “David Harutyunyan subjectively understood the expressions made by Aram Khachatryan, which created a tense interpersonal relationship between them. After that, putting his own “self” above life, which is the highest human value, with the motive of revenge, with the direct intention of killing Aram Khachaturian, Davit Harutyunyan shot and killed him with a rifle attached to him.”
In a conversation with Forrights, the lawyer mentioned that even in the verdict, the court did not convince the motive for which David had done such an act․
“We insist that the court gave a wrong qualification to the crime and did not give any motives for the murder. The court based on the hypothesis that David had heard Aram’s indecent expression, which was the motive for revenge. However, even the witnesses claim that they were far from each other, besides, David did not respond to the swearing on the spot, which does not exclude the fact that he simply did not hear Aram’s expression. In court, David says that if he had heard, he would have given the answer at that very moment, at the spot: ‘I certainly would not have restrained myself’,” says Ani Torosyan.
According to the lawyer, no witness in the court confirmed that David had heard Aram’s swearing, while that circumstance was considered as an established fact. In addition, all the witnesses rule out the possibility that there had been any tension between the two boys before.
Today, in the appeal, the defense also points out several cases where in similar circumstances the crime was re-qualified not under Article 104 of the Criminal Code, but Part 3 of Article 373 of the Criminal Code – violation of the rules of handling weapons, which caused death by negligence.
“Mitigating circumstances were not taken into account. The fact that David is young, has not been convicted before, cried after the act, tried to help Aram. The witnesses testify about this,” the lawyer added.
It should be noted also that the accusing prosecutor Boris Bakhshiyan submitted an appeal to the court. According to him, a mild punishment was applied to David. The latter demanded 15 years of imprisonment from the court of first instance.
Let us add that charges were brought against Alik Sargisjanyan, the commander of the detachment, and Sevak Simonyan, according to which they cursed, and Alik Sargisjanyan also hit Davit Harutyunyan, thus humiliating his honor and dignity. Amnesty was applied to Sargisjanyan and Simonyan and the charges were dropped.