GYUMRI (Armenia Now) — Justice Harutyun Movsisyan, presiding over the trial of Valery Permyakov, a 20-year-old former conscript of Russian armed forces charged with killing a seven-member Armenian family, has rejected the petition of lawyers of the victims’ relatives for the proceedings to be moved from the premises of the base in Gyumri to the Shirak court of general jurisdiction.
The petition was made as the trial resumed on January 18 and the lawyers were supposed to express their formal position on whether they would challenge the judge. The lawyers, in particular, explained that the trial at the Russian military base was not in line with Armenia’s legislature, and, among other things, also violated the rights of the defendant.
Permyakov, meanwhile, had said it did not matter to him where he would be tried. Following lawyers’ petition that said that in an Armenian court Permyakov would not, for example, have to wear handcuffs, the judge ordered that handcuffs be removed from the defendant, who appears at the hearings in the dock behind a glass.
At the previous hearing a month ago, Judge Movsisyan rejected the lawyers’ petition for Russian military personnel guarding Permyakov to be removed from the courtroom. At today’s hearing, however, Armenian police officers and bailiffs ensured the defendant’s safety at the proceedings.
The relatives of the Avetisyans, the family allegedly massacred by Permyakov in a shooting and stabbing rampage on January 12, 2015, attended the hearing after changing their minds and deciding not to boycott it following consultations with their lawyers late last week.
In the courtroom, they periodically cursed Permyakov, who again expressed little emotion during the trial.
The Avetisyan relatives and their lawyers again complained about poor conditions in the court-room that they said did not suit the trial of such great public interest.
Today’s hearing was held on the eve of a one-year anniversary of the death of the youngest member of the Avetisyan family, six-month-old Seryozha, who survived his parents, grandparents, sister and aunt by a week.
Doctors could not save the life of the toddler whom, unlike his other victims, Permyakov allegedly stabbed with the bayonet of his AKS-74 assault rifle.
The relatives of the Avetisyans as well as other members of the public are expected to visit the grave of the family again tomorrow.
A year ago the killings of the Avetisyan family sparked angry protests in Gyumri, with people demanding that Permyakov be handed over to Armenian authorities. Eventually, Russia agreed only to allow an Armenian court to try the Russian citizen (and now convict after being sentenced by a Russian court to 10 years in prison on desertion and arms stealing charges in August), while continuing to keep him in its custody.