Samvel Babayan’s Lawyer Had Only One Meeting With His Client

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The lawyer of the former commander Karabakh’s Defense Army Nikolay Baghdasarian confirmed that on May 30 the lawyers received an invitation to take part in investigative actions.

They were refused entry in Stepanakert–as dozens of their petitions for meeting with their clients and deman’s to examine the materials of the case were rejected by the Karabakh Prosecutor’s Office. "I learned of the articles my client is charged on only from newspapers," alleged Baghdasarian–claiming that. the investigation was proceeding under extremely unfair and unconstitutional conditions.

"Under the circumstances–all the truth is impossible to reveal," Baghdasarian told Noyan Tapan–adding that blatant violations of the Karabakh Code of Criminal Procedure were committed throughout the investigation.

Baghdasarian concluded a contract on defending Samvel Babayan on March 27–at the latter’s wife Irina’s request. But Baghdasarian’s only meeting with his client was on April 6 after a number of petitions had been lodged with the Prosecutor’s Office. During the meeting–which lasted only five minutes–Baghdasarian had time to say he was Babayan’s lawyer. "Neither I nor he thought it would be our only meeting," the lawyer said.

Another lawyer from Yerevan–Gagik Hakobian–also joined in defending Babayan (at the request of Babayan’s wife). The lawyer could never meet with his client. In Stepanakert–Babayan is claimed to have another defender–by the name of Galstian–but Babayan’s relatives stated that they never concluded any contracts with other lawyers–including Galstian.

According to Baghdasarian–he cannot be sure whether or not physical pressure was exerted on Babayan. During the meeting in April no traces of a beating were on Babayan’s face–but that does not mean anything–as traces of violence can be revealed only by means of a forensic medical examination. "I did not demand an examination for fear that it would be formal," he said.

The lawyer denied the rumors that he allegedly refused to defend Babayan. "I did not refuse–for the law does not provide for such a refusal. Even in case of pressure and threats the lawyer must apply to relevant bodies to ensure his safety." Asked whether such pressure and threats took place–he said–"I do not want to speak about it now."

Ashot Vareljian–the lawyer of the other person accused in the case–Erik Faramazian (Samvel Babayan’s brother-in-law)–was not allowed to study the materials of the case either. But–unlike Samvel Babayan’s lawyers–Vareljian met with his client twice. During the first meeting that lasted an hour and a half Farmazian seemed very depressed to his lawyer. Asked whether he had any complaints–Farmazian did not answer anything. The second meeting lasted only five minutes: "I had hardly asked what had happened during the investigative actions when Karabakh’s Deputy Minister of the Interior Arshavir Ghambarian said–`The meeting is over.’"

According to the lawyers–Karabakh law-enforcement agencies prevent lawyers from Armenia from participating in the case. "On one and the same day the three accused individuals rejected the services of the lawyers from Yerevan–but we believe it to be a voluntary refusal," the lawyers said.

If the violations of their rights continue–the lawyers will apply to other bodies in charge of law and order in the Karabakh: the president–prime minister and parliament.

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