Sona Arakelyan says her son was beaten by police into confessing that he broke the window of a neighbor’s restaurant last year, on the basis of which he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment.
Her son, 20-year-old Taron Arakelyan has been serving out his sentence at the Nubarashen Penitentiary.
Several days ago, the Court of Appeals threw out a petition by the prosecutor and attorney of the neighbor in question, Artashes Khachatryan, to have Arakelyan’s sentence lengthened, arguing that the defendant hasn’t expressed regret for his act and nor has he paid damages amounting to 35,800 AMD ($73).
|Artashes Khachatryan and his lawyer Samvel Dilbandyan|
The court also rejected a motion by Arakelyan’s lawyer to find his client not guilty of the act that occurred in May 2015.
Arakelyan claims he is innocent of the window breaking that took place in the town of Martouni in Armenia’s Gegharkounik Province.
Khachatryan claims that he lent money to Taron Arakelyan’s parents, Sona and Artak in 2009 but that they never paid him back. On May 22, 2015, Khachatryan went to the police and the incident in question happened a few days later, most likely in revenge.
Taron’s mother told Hetq that her son’s confession during the initial investigation was coerced and that police beat her son.
“Then, a police officer named Arayik told my son that if he publicized the beating it would only get worse for him. My son said nothing out of fear. They all advised me not to take Taron to a court doctor and that all would work out. But when the prosecutor demanded two years’ punishment I started my own inquiry,” says Sona Arakelyan.
Sona and Artak Arakelyan, Taron’s parents
Mrs. Arakelyan says she recorded a statement of investigator Housik Baghdasaryan, confessing that Taron had been coerced and beaten. She claims that the investigator advised her not to issue a complaint.
Not taking the investigator’s advice, Mrs. Arakelyan took the recording to the police department’s internal security division and the case was sent to the Special Investigative Service. She says that a criminal case into the matter has been launched.
Artak Arakelyan, Taron father, says that when he heard what had happened to his son, he returned from working overseas.
“I returned two days after the incident and saw the bruises on his chest, back and arms. I found out that they hadn’t fed him for two days. They said that if he confessed he’d be released,” says Mr. Arakelyan.
In his verdict, Yurik Iskoyan, the judge in the original case, stated that the allegations made by Taron Arakelyan that he was instructed to confess his guilt doesn’t correspond to the details of the case.
Taron Arakelyan’s lawyer, Karen Kalantaryan, told Hetq that the case is riddled with violations. He pointed to his client’s initial incriminating testimony in which lines and words are repeated, arguing that this alone raises suspicions.
Top Photo: Taron Arakelyan