By Hovannes Shoghikian
A lower court in Armenia’s Aragatsotn province on Tuesday reached guilty verdicts in the cases of four opposition supporters standing trial for assaulting a Karabakh war veteran during Levon Ter-Petrosian’s election campaign trip.
Brothers Mkrtich and Zhora Sapeyans, their nephew Hayk Gevorkian, and Mkrtich’s son Andranik, a minor, were sentenced to different jail terms after the presiding judge found the prosecution’s case grounded.
The men stood accused of hooliganism against Sarkis Karapetian during opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian’s campaign rally in Armenia’s small town of Talin, about 65 kilometers to the north-west of capital Yerevan, on January 27.
The loyalists of Ter-Petrosian, according to prosecutors, threw punches at the Karabakh war veteran who heckled the ex-president as the latter was about to address local residents.
Arman Gasparian, prosecuting, had demanded three years in prison for Zhora Sapeyan, a 30-month imprisonment for Mkrtich Sapeyan and a two-year imprisonment for Hayk Gevorkian. He had also demanded an 18-month conditional imprisonment for Andranik Sapeyan.
In their last words all defendants protested their innocence, saying they did not commit any acts of hooliganism incriminated to them.
Judge Manuk Markarian found the guilt of the four men proved by the prosecution and sentenced Mkrtich Sapeyan to two years in prison, Zhora Sapeyan to 30 months in prison, Hayk Gevorkyan to 18 months in prison and minor Andranik Sapeyan to 30 months in prison with an 18-month probation period.
Hovik Arsenian, who represented the interests of the four defendants in the proceedings, defied the court verdicts and called the trial a farce. “We are not on the legal plain here. The whole trial only grounded my statements that my clients did not commit any acts of hooliganism,” he said.