In March of this year, Yerevan’s Kentron and Nork Marash District Court sentenced two young men to six years each for robbing the home of a transvestite and using a weapon.
One of the two convicted men, 20 year-old Robert had met Nikita (real name V. Safaryan), the transvestite who was also working as a prostitute, through the Odnoklasnik social website.
Robert testified that he arranged to have sex with Nikita but balked after the prostitute confessed to who she really was.
Robert had also informed Narek, his 23 year-old friend from Russia who was also found guilty, about the sex services being offered by Nikita.
In pre-trial testimony, Robert stated that Narek was having financial problems. When Narek found out about Nikita, he proposed to Robert that the two of them go and rob Nikita’s house
In order to make the plan work, Narek decided to pose as a customer and visit Nikita. Before the two men visited the prostitute they went and bought a blank-shooting pistol and some duct tape.
They showed up at Nikita’s house on October 17, 2012. Waving the gun in the prostitute’s face, the two ransacked the apartment and found some cash. They then tied her up with the tape and fled. They split the cash down the line.
Contrary to their pre-trial testimony, the two men gave similar statements in court. During the trail, they both claimed that Robert had visited the prostitute and was ready to pay 40,000 AMD for sex but left, leaving the money, since Nikita said her relatives would soon be returning home.
A few days later Robert and Narek visited the prostitute at her house. This time Narek paid 40,000 AMD and engaged in sex with Nikita. Robert, on the other hand, asked for his money back which he says he left there. Nikita allegedly refused to hand over the cash.
In court, Robert testified that they argued with the prostitute. Narek testified, however, that the argument broke out when Nikita confessed that she was really a male. Nevertheless, they both stated that Nikita returned the 80,000 AMD and that they left without assaulting Nikita or pulling out the pistol. The two men claim the tape was for Robert’s computer classroom and that the blank shooter was a gift for Robert’s friend.
According to court documents, Robert hid the pistol in the Shahumyan neighbourhood. But when the cops arrived on the scene, the gun had disappeared and only the box remained. The box was admitted in evidence along with 115,000 AMD that Robert had also concealed in a bag.
Narek’s mother testified that she had found an amount of cash that her son had left at a relative’s house and that she spent it, not knowing where it came from.
Nikita gave conflicting statements as to the amount of the cash that had been robbed. She once said 800,000 AMD had been taken and later one million. In court, the prostitute testified that she had given the police an amount of 800,000 to one million since she couldn’t give an exact amount. Nikita claimed, however, that a minimum of 800,000 was taken. Narek’s and Robert’s mothers paid back the amount to Nikita in equal shares.
Due to the contradictions regarding the amount taken, the court, as prescribed by the law, found in the favour of the indicted and established the figure of 220,000 as given by Robert in pre-trial testimony.
Robert stated that Narek had given him 100,000 of that amount and that the other 15,000 found in the bag was his. The court returned the 115,000 investigators recovered to Nikita.
In July the Criminal Court of Appeals rejected the suit of Robert and Narek seeking to overturn the lower court’s verdict.