Armenia’s Court of Appeals on Monday upheld a guilty verdict in the trial of a Russian soldier who was convicted of murdering an Armenian family of seven in Gyumri.
A local middle-aged couple, their daughter, son, daughter-in-law and 2-year-old granddaughter were found shot dead in their home in January 2015. The Avetisian family’s seventh member, a 6-month-old baby boy, died of his stab wounds one week later.
Valery Permyakov, a Russian soldier who served in a Russian military base headquartered in Gyumri, has admitted killing them shortly after deserting his unit earlier that day. He told Russian and Armenian investigators last year that he had grown homesick and wanted to reunite with his family living in Siberia.
A Gyumri court sentenced Permyakov to life imprisonment in August. Lawyers representing both the defendant and the victims’ relatives appealed against the verdict.
In particular, the victims’ representatives challenged the official theory that Permyakov acted alone. They demanded a new, more thorough investigation of the shock massacre that sparked angry protests in Armenia’s second largest city.
Their legal representatives also petitioned the Court of Appeals to strike down the Gyumri court’s rejection of a hefty financial compensation demanded by them from the Russian state. The two daughters of the murdered couple and the parents of the Avetisians’ slain daughter-in-law had demanded 450,000 euros ($500,000) in damages in a separate civil lawsuit.
The high court in Yerevan rejected both demands in a ruling that was read out in the absence of the victims’ legal representatives.
One of the lawyers, Mihran Poghosian, denounced the ruling but was not surprised by it. “It is evident that everything is being done in Armenia so that justice is not done on this case,” he told reporters.
Poghosian said his legal team will likely take its case to the higher Court of Cassation. The lawyers plan to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights after exhausting all possibilities of legal action in Armenia, he added.