GYUMRI, Armenia (RFE/RL)—Relatives of a seven-member family that was massacred in Gyumri last month demand that the Russian soldier charged with the murders be handed over to Armenian authorities.
The legal successors of the victims of the shooting rampage that claimed the lives of Seryozha and Hasmik Avetisian, their adult son and daughter, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren, the youngest being only six months old, gathered near the provincial prosecutor’s office in Gyumri on Monday demanding answers to their questions, including from Armenia’s prosecutor-general.
After protests that took place in the northwestern Armenian city last month Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian promised to ask his Russian counterpart to consider the transfer of Valery Permyakov, who is currently kept in custody at the Russian military base, to Armenian authorities. His office announced on February 3 that a letter to that effect had been sent to Russian Prosecutor-General Yuri Chayka.
A number of Armenian media since then have raised doubts that the request had, in fact, been submitted. They said they could not verify that through their inquiries submitted to Russian authorities. In a February 19 statement, the Armenian Prosecutor’s Office called such media allegations “absurd.”
Earlier, authorities in Moscow said that the soldier charged with the Gyumri killings would be tried by a Russian military court at the base.
Six weeks after the tragedy the relatives of the murdered family also seek answers to their question about the motives of the crime that still remain vague.
“We already held the memorial service on the 40th day after the family deaths, but we still know nothing,” one of them complained. “They don’t tell anything even to the legal successors [of the victims].”
Prosecutor of the Shirak province Raffi Aslanian referred the relatives of the murdered family to the Investigation Committee that conducts the joint investigation from the Armenian side. Dissatisfied with the kind of response, the legal successors of the Avetisians said they will initiate protests in Gyumri on Friday if before that the prosecutor-general does not come to the city and provide them with answers to all their questions.