YEREVAN (Armenian Weekly)—Yanis Sarkisov, accused of beating to death his 20-year-old wife Zaruhi Petrosyan, received a ten-year prison term on Oct. 14.
Sarkisov received the maximum penalty under the Armenian penal code’s Article 112 (“Intentional serious or heavy damage to health”).
On Oct. 1, 2010, Petrosyan, mother of an infant girl named Lilia, was killed after having sustained days of physical abuse at the hands of her husband and mother-in-law, according to her sister Hasmig.
Sarkisov, who was arrested soon after the incident, denied having committed any crime. “I am not guilty,” he said in his initial statement. “She fell and died.”
According to Hasmig, by the time Zaruhi died, she had been subjected to days of beatings. She suffered broken knees, and a crushed skull. Her sister believes her fingers were broken because she had tried to dial for help. Neighbors stated that Sarkisov threw Zaruhi’s body down a flight of stairs so that he could attribute her injuries to her fall.
Initial statements made by friends and family alleged Sakisov’s mother Lilia Sarkisova also beat Zaruhi. However, she faced no charges. Subsequently, Zaruhi’s daughter was placed under Sarkisova’s custody. Some activists have protested against the placement of the child with Sarkisova. They have written letters to authorities, and even appealed with the Child Protection Agency.
Zaruhi Petrosyan’s death shed light on the problem of domestic violence in Armenia. Soon after the Coalition to Stop Violence against Women in Armenia was formed, an umbrella for seven organizations, and gave rise to calls for the adoption of domestic violence laws by authorities.