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Soldier Charged With Killing Armenian Woman To Remain In Russian Custody


A Russian military base in Gyumri, Armenia

The Russian soldier charged with beating an Armenian woman to death will remain in custody at the Russian military base in Gyumri, according to a local court.

The Shirak Regional Court of General Jurisdiction on Tuesday rejected the lawsuit of the killed Gyumri woman’s family, who demanded that Andrey Razgildeyev be transferred to Armenia’s law-enforcement bodies and be kept in pretrial detention in Armenian remand prison.

Razgildeyev, a 23-year-old serviceman at the Russian military base in Gyumri, was arrested in December in connection with the violent death of Julieta Ghukasian, a 57-year-old street cleaner in Gyumri.

Armenian law-enforcement bodies later charged the Russian with brutal assault and involuntary manslaughter. Motives for the alleged attack still remain unclear.

Under Armenia’s criminal law, such crimes are punishable by between five and ten years in prison.

Despite being charged under Armenian law, Razgildeyev has remained under arrest inside the Russian military base – something that has caused complaints from the family of the victim and a number of Armenian human rights activists.

Attorney Arayik Zalian, who represents the interests of Ghukasian’s daughter, says that a comprehensive and impartial investigation of the case is only possible if the Russian soldier is handed over to Armenian law-enforcement bodies.

Armenian Prosecutor’s Office representative Mihran Martirosian, meanwhile, insisted that keeping the Russian soldier at the base is legitimate as it is stipulated by provisions of an Armenian-Russian intergovernmental agreement.

“The accused was arrested in the territory of the Russian Federation’s 102nd base. That is, getting him out of the territory of the base is contrary to the Russian Federation’s legislation,” he explained.

In 2015, another Russia soldier murdered seven members of an Armenian family in Gyumri. The case sparked protests in the northwestern city and elsewhere in Armenia. An Armenian court in August 2016 sentenced private Valery Permyakov to life in prison.

Permyakov too was held in detention at the Russian base before and during his trial. He was later transferred to Russia to serve his sentence.

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