YEREVAN (ArmenianWeekly)—The trial of Yanis Sarkisov, the man who allegedly beat to death his wife, Zaruhi Petrosyan, with the aid of his mother, continued on Aug. 2 at the Masis Court.
According to sources, two of the witnesses were professors at the college Zaruhi attended. The third witness was a neighbor.
The first witness, Anahid Hagopyan, is a college professor who gave a positive depiction of Zaruhi’s character. According to her, despite the fact that she was married and had an infant daughter, Zaruhi was a hard-working student, reported armversion.com.
The second witness was Zaruhi’s And Yanis’ college advisor, Armenuhi Ghougassyan, who was well aware of Zaruhi’s marital problems, and the dynamics of her household. When Zaruhi had expressed her wish to divorce her husband, the advisor had counseled against it. “That happens in every household. Everything will fall into place. You were raised an orphan, don’t orphan your daughter,” she had told Zaruhi.
Zaruhi was herself an orphan, a fact her husband used against her when subjecting her to beatings. According to Zaruhi’s sister, Hasmig, the husband would brag about his cousin who held a high-ranking position with the Etchmiadzin police. Since his wife was an orphan girl, he’d say, he could do anything he wanted with her, even kill her, if he wished.
The advisor also said that she had not noticed any bruises on Zaruhi, and generally characterized her as an honest person.
Finally, Zaruhi’s neighbor, Pourasdan Vartanyan, was called to testify. She said she was not close with the Sarkisovs, but she would always greet Zaruhi. She said Sarkisov had demonstrated thuggish behavior since an early age, and went on to give accounts of his misdeeds towards her. She painted a positive picture of Zaruhi, adding that she had not heard any noise or fights at the Sarkisov house until the six months preceding Zaruhi’s death. She had later learned of Zaruhi’s plight.
A fourth witness was also summoned, but it was revealed that the witness did not know Zaruhi.
Zaruhi Petrosyan died on Oct. 1. Her husband, Yanis Sarkisov, was subsequently arrested, facing murder charges. According to Zaruhi’s sister, by the time she died, Zaruhi 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 had alleged that Sarkisov threw Zaruhi’s body down a flight of stairs so that he could attribute her injuries to her fall. A police investigator claimed that he spoke with Zaruhi at the hospital before she died, where she told him her injuries were the result of a fall.
The next court date is set for Sept. 9, at 12 p.m.
About a week earlier, on July 27, Yanis Sarkisov acknowledged he had fathered Zaruhi’s daughter, Lilia Petrosyan. The child’s name was then changed to Lilia Sarkisova, reported the Coalition to Stop Violence against Women.
As Lilia’s sole living parent, Sarkisov has extended custody of the child to his mother, also named Lilia Sarkisova. Subsequently, Sarkisova presented the necessary paperwork to the Nork Marash authorities, and gained temporary custody of little Lilia.
Some activists have protested against Sarkisova gaining custody over Zaruhi’s daughter. They have written letters to authorities, and even appealed with the Child Protection Agency.
Zaruhi Petrosyan’s death highlighted the problem of domestic violence in Armenia, and gave rise to calls for justice in the case, and the adoption of domestic violence laws by authorities