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Gyumri Massacre Convict Sent To Russian Jail


Armenia - Valery Permyakov, a Russian soldier, stands trial on charges of murdering an Armenian family of seven in Gyumri, 18Jan2016

The Russian soldier convicted of murdering an Armenian family of seven in Gyumri more than two years ago has been sent to Russia to serve his life sentence there, the Armenian Ministry of Justice reported on Thursday.

The Ministry, in particular, said that “as a result of consultations with corresponding Russian bodies arrangements were made for the provision to the Armenian side in the future of information about Valery Permyakov’s serving his sentence in the event of such an inquiry.”

Permyakov, 21, has admitted to gunning down a middle-aged couple, their daughter, son, daughter-in-law and 2-year-old granddaughter in their home in January 2015. The Avetisian family’s seventh member, a 6-month-old baby boy, was stabbed and fatally wounded.

A Russian military court sentenced Permyakov to 10 years in prison for desertion and theft of firearms and ammunition in a short trial held in August 2015. His main, Armenian trial on murder charges began shortly afterwards.

In an Armenian-jurisdiction trial controversially held on the premises of the Russian military base in Gyumri a court sentenced the conscript to life imprisonment in August 2016. Armenia’s Court of Appeals upheld the guilty verdict in December.

Permyakov was kept in custody at the Gyumri headquarters of a Russian military base in Armenia ever since he was arrested on the Armenian-Turkish border hours after the gruesome killings.

The Armenian Ministry of Justice announced earlier this month that Permyakov might be transferred to Russia “since both Armenian and Russian courts have handed down verdicts regarding him.”

Officials in Moscow said in the immediate aftermath of the shock killings that Permyakov could only be tried by a Russian court because Russia’s constitution prohibits extradition of Russian nationals to foreign states. That caused outrage among many Armenians fearing a Russian cover-up of the massacre.

Thousands of them demonstrated in Gyumri in January 2015 to demand Permyakov’s handover to the Armenian side. Some of them clashed with riot police outside the local Russian consulate. The Russian authorities eventually agreed to place the murder case under Armenian jurisdiction.

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