The Prosecutor’s Office in Armenia has brushed aside recent media reports alleging that no request has been formally submitted to Moscow for the transfer of a Russian soldier accused of murdering seven members of an Armenian family in Gyumri to Armenian custody.
Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian’s office announced on February 3 that he had sent a letter to his Russian counterpart, Yuri Chayka, saying that the high-profile case should be transferred to Armenian jurisdiction.
The office said Kostanian invoked a 1997 Russian-Armenian treaty regulating the presence of a Russian military base in Armenia. Valery Permyakov, a 19-year-old conscript serving at the base in Gyumri, was charged with committing the murders on January 12. He is currently kept in Russian custody at the military base. Moscow says he will be tried by a Russian military court in Armenia.
Hundreds of angry residents staged protests in Gyumri last month demanding that Permyakov be tried by an Armenian court and in accordance with Armenian laws. On January 15, Prosecutor-General Kostanian promised to the protesters that he would write a letter to his Russian counterpart over the matter, something that his office said he did about two weeks later.
The Zhoghovurd newspaper reported on Wednesday that it had inquired about whether the Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office received the request from the Armenian side regarding the transfer of Permyakov. It said it got a negative reply.
In its statement today the Prosecutor’s Office of Armenia called such reports “absurd” and refused to further comment on the matter.
At the same time, it said that considering the importance of the criminal case and the great public attention to it, the Prosecutor-General’s Office will provide information on it in case of any new development.