Armenia Citizens Accused of Providing Information on Karabakh’s Army Charged with Treason
The trial in a case of state treason in which six citizens of the Republic of Armenia are charged resumed in a Yerevan administrative court on Monday. Two of the accused, twin brothers Artur and Davit Avetikyan, are charged with knowing about a serious crime (treason) and not reporting it to law enforcement officials.
Note, the key accused in the case is Karen Mehrabyan, who is accused of state treason directly. According to the prosecution, in 2011, Mehrabyan departed for Turkey where he promised information on Armenia’s and Nagorno-Karabakh’s armies to spies by the name of Tigran and Said in exchange for money. Upon returning to Armenia on Jul. 23, 2011, he was arrested at the Georgian border.
Prosecutor Aram Amirzadyan is asking for 15 years in prison for Mehrabyan, while for the other men, accused of helping him, he is asking 12 years for Roman (Romik) Matevosyan, 11 years for Ashot Chtrkyan, 2 years for Karen Petrosyan and Davit Avetikyan and only a 500,000 fine for Artur Avetikyan.
In the case against the twin brothers, the story goes that Karen Mehrabyan told Artur and Davit that he met with an Armenian-speaking Turk in Turkey and promised to pass on information about Nagorno-Karabakh’s army to him. According to the brothers’ attorney, Edmond Marukyan, Davit and Artur didn’t get enough information in their conversations with Mehrabyan to know that he was talking about state treason, implying that the case against his clients was launched on assumptions and not hard evidence.
During the pre-trial investigation, the two brothers said that Mehrabyan asked them whether they knew anyone in the army and offered them money in exchange for military information. The brothers, however, urged him not to get involved in such things, but didn’t really take what Mehrabyan was saying seriously and didn’t consider that any of this had to do with state treason.
In court, the brothers said that Mehrabyan made no offer of cooperation to them.
Artur and Davit’s attorney mentioned in court that his clients’ constitutional right was violated during the investigation — they were questioned as accused but they were told that they were witnesses.
“If they are being questioned as suspects then Artur and Davit have the right to avail of the rights arising from such a state — that is, to speak in the presence of an attorney. Furthermore, their constitutional right not to testify against their close relatives was breached,” he said, adding that the case must be quashed since there is no crime.
The attorney, Edmond Marukyan, seeking clarification from the court yesterday, asked how much information exactly would his clients have to have in order to charge that they “definitely” knew about the act of treason?
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