Upon hearing Judge Tatevik Grigoryan sentence him to ten years and five months behind bars, Jirayr Sefilyan smiled and cried out, “Bravo. Similar sentences will soon be announced for you.”
State prosecutors Petros Petrosyan and Hakob Yenokyan had demanded the court hand down the heaviest sentence to Sefilyan – eleven years.
After the verdicts were read, they left the courtroom under a barrage of expletives from those supporting Sefilyan and the seven other defendants.
Sefilyan’s lawyer Arayik Papikyan made the following statement to reporters afterwards:
“This wasn’t a trial, but rather a political directive and housecleaning. March 20 will be remembered as the day when justice died. On this day, courthouse flags must be removed and replaced with black ribbons. This day will remain in history, but the time will come when the political authorities will answer for it.”
Long before the trial ended, police vehicles and personnel had staged a show of force outside the Shengavit courthouse.
Many people who wished to enter the court as spectators never made it inside. Court officers demanded that people produce identity papers so that they could see if their names appeared on a list of banned individuals the court had drawn up.
One of those not allowed inside was Gegham Adyan, who says that court bailiffs singled him out last summer. Adyan claims that cops visited his house, warning him not to attend the trial sessions.
“Clearly, they don’t want many people in the court when the verdicts are announced. That’s why they’re not letting us in,” Adyan said.
During Hetq’s coverage of the trial, which began in May 2017, we’ve written how court officials had demanded that spectators provide personal data (name, address, etc.). This information was then used to draft a list of potential “troublemakers” to be barred from courtroom.
Sefilyan was found guilty on three counts – conspiracy to foment public disorder, illegal arms possession, and conspiracy to seize government buildings.
Six other defendants received lighter sentences.