Case Concerning Hrachya Gevorgyan

hrachya1Criminal trial of Hrachya Gevorgyan started on March 27, 2012 at the Court of General Jurisdiction of Ajapnyak and Davtashen Administrative Districts. H. Gevorgyan is accused of hostage-taking and is represented by lawyer Lyudvig Avetisyan and monitored by Armen Veziryan from the Helsinki Association for Human Rights. The initial judge presiding over the case was Judge Vazgen and the current judge is Marine Melkonyan.

Hrachya Gevorgyan is accused of holding his wife, Naira Harutyunyan and her son, a minor, hostage with help from Garik Harutyunyan (who has no relation to Naira Harutyunyan). Hrachya and Garik held them hostage to receive ransom from Naira’s father. After they received the money, they released Naira and her son. However, the defense claims that Naira is trying to frame her husband in order to avoid repayment of her debts. Additionally, records indicate that Naira accessed the internet and had her cell phone with her during the time of the kidnapping, yet she did not call for help or inform anyone about her situation.

The accused, H. Gevorgyan, has had several serious health problems that have been ignored by the Nubarashen Penitentiary management. Since the treatment of his health conditions were not properly carried out, H. Gevorgyan swallowed a nail as an act of protest. He asked for the nail to be removed surgically, but the penitentiary management ignored his requests. On April 14, the prisoner once again appealed to the penitentiary management, explaining that if his surgery is refused again he would swallow a needle, which he did on April 16. H. Gevorgyan was eventually taken to the Hospital of Convicts in order to remove the foreign objects from his body.  

Additionally, the accused claims that the former Chief of the Police Criminal Investigation Unit of Ajapnyak District, Artur Gevorgyan, threatened him to stop protesting the illegality of the criminal case against him. Artur not only had contact with the defendant by phone for three months, but he also visited Hrachya while he was in prison and continued to threaten his life. The employees of the RA Human Rights Defender’s Office came to visit H. Gevorgyan at the prisoners’ hospital, where they were informed about the threats made against the accused. The RA Human Rights Defender’s Office stated that they would investigate the allegations made by Hrachya; however, no criminal proceedings have been brought against A. Gevorgyan.

Not only has the defendant not been treated well, but his rights to a fair trial have also been abused. For instance, the witness testimonies that were recorded and provided to the court in support of H. Gevorgyan’s defense where lost and therefore not taken into consideration during his trial.

Currently, H. Gevorgyan is unable to speak or walk and suffers from acute respiratory failure. However, he has been transferred back to the Nubarashen penitentiary from the Convict’s Hospital. According to the penitentiary, the defendant has no health issues, which is why his requests for a wheelchair or a stretcher in order to meet with the monitor and his lawyer have been denied.

Hrachya Gevorgyan’s trial is still ongoing. It has been three years since the trial began and the continuous extension of his case violates Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that a case must be tried in a reasonable time-frame.

Written by Sona Movsisyan.

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