Stepan Hovakimyan and Vahram Qerobyan, who were charged for theft from “Moscow” cinema, are under detention for more than 2 years. There is no evidence proving their guilt. The only ground is the confession of Stepan Hovakimyan, which he claims to have written because of battery and torture.
On March 26 “Civil Society Institute” (CSI) NGO held a press conference demanding to change the preventive measures of Hovakimyan and Qerobyan and to conduct a comprehensive and unbiased investigation on the fact of torture of Hovakimyan.
“This brunch of violations that we see in this case though being generally unusual, are not unusual for Armenia. And everyone speaks about this diseases of justice system, these are the cases of torture, no proper investigation of tortures, unnecessary use of detention, delay of reasonable deadlines of trial”, mentioned speaker Artak Kirakosyan, Secretary General of International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).
President of CSI Arman Danielyan mentioned that the grounds for detaining the boys 2 years ago no longer function and the preventive measure should be changed: “They should have gathered all the proofs up to now: it is a matter of hiding, because the relatives are ready to give a large amount of bail, even put their apartment-the only real estate they have in pledge, also there is petition of a group of intellectuals, who guarantee the proper behavior of Stepan Hovakimyan”.
Tigran Safaryan, defender of Stepan Hovakimyan enumerated all those contradictions that are in the case.
The theft was carried out on January 10, 2010 but the criminal case was launched on 6 February. Till February 6 he has been twice asked to come to the police station. He was taken to the police station for the second time on February 6 where they extorted confessional statement by means of torture and launched criminal case.
The stolen money with the amount of AMD 5 million 80 thousand and RUB 10 thousand has not been found yet. Moreover, there is contradiction in calculating the amount of the stolen money.
The cameras of “Moscow” cinema fixed different hours of the theft 03:15 and 00:12. “But in the criminal case the time of the theft is fixed 23:30, because it was a convenient time to make accusations against Hovakimyan and Qerobyan”, thinks Tigran Safaryan:
4 cameras worked in the site of accident, however a 1,5 minute edited video was attached to the materials of criminal case, but there is no original. The management of “Moscow” cinema states that the video materials were given to the police and it is not kept. “One person is seen in the video, however he does not look like Vahram Qerobyan or Stepan Hovakimyan and this is according to the employees of “Moscow” cinema. Only one person says that they look alike, because their shoes are of the same color. We still haven’t found out who edited the video materialand why ”, wonders the lawyer.
Tigran Safaryan and Arman Danielyan
Tigran Safaryan is sure that detaining Hovakimyan and Qerobyan for more than 2 years is a violation of the reasonable period of detention and the court would be restricted in making a judgment of acquittal because it would have to answer why the innocent people were illegally kept under detention for so long.
The first day when Hovakimyan had the opportunity to see his advocate he said that he made the confession under the influence of violence. No due investigation was carried out on the statement of torture: “Most importantly, a forensic expertise had to be appointed, which was not carried out. And this means that they were intended not to appoint a forensic expertise”.
Artak Kirakosyan thinks that we have an “inefficient investigation system”, which relies on confessions. According to him our courts did not get rid of the Soviet practice of being adjacent to the Prosecutor’s Office and they try to prove the accusations of their colleagues. Kirakosyan is sure that if “We need public mobilization and reaction in these cases, that is why we intervene in such cases. If we achieve certain result in 3-4 cases a year, it can change the whole system”.
Finally, let us mention that we will send complaints to the European Court of Human Rights about the torturing Stepan Hovakimyan, launching no criminal case on the statement of torture, delaying the reasonable terms of trial. Advocate Tigran Safaryan thinks that they will succeed in the ECHR.
Meanwhile, in the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash Administrative Districts (Judge Mkhitar Papoyan) the trial of S. Hovakimyan and V. Qerobyan will be continued.
Most likely, in this session the petition of the advocate to change the preventive measure will be discussed.