The Russian soldier accused of killing the seven members of an Armenian family in Gyumri had no history of mental retardation when he began his military service last year, a Russian military official who drafted him insisted on Friday.
Aleksandr Loginovsky, the chief recruitment officer in the small Siberian town of Baley, again denied Russian military prosecutors’ reported claims that the soldier, Valery Permyakov, was diagnosed with “oligophrenia” and even spent a month in a military hospital.
“Of course that is not true,” Loginovsky told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) by phone. “He was healthy and all documents regarding his health were drawn up properly.”
Loginovsky said that like other boys in Baley Permyakov had undergone regular medical examinations since the age of 14 at his office subordinate to the Russian Defense Ministry. Doctors there never found that “something is wrong” with Permyakov, he said.
Several Moscow-based media outlets reported on Thursday that Russian military prosecutors have launched criminal proceedings against Loginovsky and the commander of a Russian army unit where Permyakov served until being transferred to the Russian military base in Armenia in December. They said the two officers are risking prosecution on charges of “criminal negligence.”
The reports raised fears in Armenia that the Russian authorities will claim that Permyakov, who is kept in at the Russian base’s Gyumri headquarters, is not sane enough to stand trial and should be confined to a psychiatric hospital, rather than a prison. Moscow was already criticized by many Armenians for refusing to hand over the suspect to Armenian law-enforcement authorities.
A lawyer representing relatives of the murdered Avetisian family said on Friday that Permyakov’s alleged mental problems cannot be sufficient grounds for avoiding imprisonment. “Even if he has mental problems, it does not necessarily mean that he is not fit to stand trial,” Yerem Sargsian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Sargsian argued that only an official psychiatric examination can gauge Permyakov’s mental condition. Armenian and Russian investigators have not conducted such a checkup so far, he said.
Armenia’s Investigative Committee said on Thursday that it has asked the Russians for official information about the soldier’s psychiatric record but received no reply yet.