Saturday, 07 December

Soldier Serving Life Sentence for Killing a Policeman: Lawyer Suspects Foul Play

In 2003, at the age of 18, Hovk village resident Hayk Torosyan was conscripted into the Armenian military. He hasn’t returned home since.

Torosyan has already spent nine years of a life sentence in prison after being found guilty of killing a policeman.

In addition to the murder charge, Torosyan was found guilty of weapons theft, carrying an illegal weapon, going AWOL and robbery.

After familiarizing myself with the case, I spoke with Torosyan’s attorney Manvel Vardanyan who believes his client is the victim, not the perpetrator.

Vardanyan says the court didn’t take into account certain mitigating circumstances in the case which revolves around a cash debt.

Vardanyan, a member of Armenia’s Chamber of Advocates, doesn’t believe that the policeman was killed by Torosyan’s gun since the court failed to answer a number of questions regarding the evidence presented against him.

He notes that the fired bullet was never identified as the one that actually killed the policeman. Later on, after the forensics physician had taken the bullet (without the investigator being present), was it certified as the culprit.

Vardanyan also points out that the court overlooked a chain of cause and effect incidents, including threats and assaults made against Torosyan, in its deliberations.

According to the case files, Torosyan had stolen 8,000 AMD from another soldier.

When Andranik Ghasabyan, yet another soldier with some clout in the unit, found out what had happened he demanded that Torosyan give him the 8,000. Torosyan handed over the money to this soldier who, in turn, only returned 3,000 to the soldier from whom it had allegedly been stolen. The other 5,000 was spent.

The next day Ghasabyan went back to Torosyan and demanded an additional 16,000 AMD, otherwise he would spread the word about the theft.

Torosyan was able to raise 11,000 from his mother and aunt. He told Ghasabyan that the remaining 5,000 would be paid by a friend by June 25.

According to the case file, on the night of June 24 Torosyan removed a hand gun from the unit and stole several thousand AMD from a store in the town of Vayk.

Upon fleeing the store, Torosyan heard someone yelling at him to stop. Not knowing that it was a policeman, given the darkness of the hour, Torosyan is said to have run while firing over his shoulder.

According to the pre-trial investigation, a policeman was killed by the shot.

(To be continued) 

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