Putin’s Spokesperson confirms that suspect will be tried in Armenia but in Russian military court.
GYUMRI, MOSCOW (Combined Sources)—Thousands of Gyumri residents turned out for the funeral of six-month-old Serozhya Avetisyan the only surviving member of a family gunned down last week by a Russian soldier, who died Monday after enduring life-saving operations and intensive medical care. Meanwhile, the suspect, 18-year-old Valery Permyakov, has pleaded guilty to charges leveled by Armenian authorities.
The crowd gathered at St. Neshan Church in Gyumri for the funeral mass, following which Avetisyan was buried at the Shirak cemetery next to his family members who were buried there last week.
On Wednesday, the investigative unit of the Republic of Armenia interrogated Permyakov at the Russian military base, following which he was charged based on corresponding provisions of the Armenian Criminal Code. The committee reported that Permyakov accepted the charges, essentially pleading guilty to the crimes.
Russian investigators have also charged Permyakov with multiple homicides and desertion from the Russian Armed Forces.
A special agreement was signed Tuesday between the investigative committees of Armenia and Russia to coordinate and conduct the probe into the murders and is being headed by Aghvan Hovsepian and his Russian counterpart, Aleksandr Bastrykin.
In an interview with GALA TV Wednesday, Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov was asked to clarify a statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who in a telephone conversation with President Serzh Sarkisian vowed that Permyakov, would be punished.
Peskov said that since Permyakov is a Russian citizen, “naturally he will be tried by Russian court with Russian laws.”
The Russian Investigation Committee chairman is in Gyumri working with the Armenian investigators, Peskov explained, stressing that Russian laws are intolerant of such crimes.
The interview also focused on growing mass protests in Gymri and Yerevan with calls for Permyakov to be handed over to Armenian law enforcement to be tried under Armenian laws. Perskov said that while the presidents would not discuss the protests over the phone, the people of Russia were also mourning the tragedy.
“A terrible tragedy has taken place. It is a shared tragedy for both Armenian and Russian people. All the people in Russia are mourning. We also know that this tragedy is being politicized and used to spread anti-Russian moods but we rely on the wisdom of the Armenian people who know how close our countries and peoples are. That is why we want to believe that it will not affect our relations, especially when they are entering a new phase, I mean Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union,” said the Russian presidential spokesperson.
“I understand that the issue is in the handover of the Russian soldier. Now I can only say that cooperative investigation is under way and it will be wrong to say anything about it. Let’s wait for the end of the trial and then speak about it,” he added.
Russian Foreign Minister Warns Against Politicizing the Tragedy
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday said that “The Gyumri tragedy is a heinous crime and Moscow conveys its deep condolences over the death of totally innocent people”.
While speaking at the conference on Russia’s diplomatic advances, Lavrov said attempts to politicize the Gyumri tragedy will not be tolerated.
“We see attempts to politicize this situation and they stem from neither the Armenian nor the Russian leaderships. There are many people wishing to use this tragedy to gain certain geopolitical benefits. It’s disgusting and intolerable and it is not honorable for proud Armenian people,” said Lavrov.
“We confirm the trial will take place in the territory of Armenia. It will be maximum open and joint. I believe the court will quickly issue an objective and adequate verdict – a verdict that will be appropriate for the committed heinous crime,” explained the Russian foreign minister.