Tension has been growing on the streets of Armenia in the last few days, sparked by the brutal murder of an Armenian family. The suspect of the crime is a Russian soldier, and many Armenians are now protesting against the suspect being tried under Russian law after he was captured while attempting to flee to Turkey. Our OneEurope contributor Lusine Sargsyan reports from Yerevan.
In the early morning of Monday 12 January a soldier from a Russian military base in Gyumri, Armenia's second largest city, murdered
six members of an Armenian family. The only surviving member is a six-month old baby who suffered severe stab wounds. He has undergone surgery and remains in critical condition. The suspect of this brutal act is Valery Permyakov, a Russian soldier at Moscow's 102nd military base in Gyumri. The motive of the crime remains unknown.
On the day following the crime, Armenian Police, along with Russian military forces, searched for the soldier, who was allegedly trying to cross into Turkey. Late at night it was announced that Permyakov was apprehended while attempting to cross the Armenian-Turkish border, near the village of Bayandur. He was captured and taken to the Russian military base in Gyumri, where he remains in the custody of Russian authorities. This has led to a surge of outrage among the locals and indeed the whole Armenian nation, who are adamant that the suspect is under Armenian jurisdiction and should be tried under Armenian law according to the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia. This is seen by many Armenians as strong evidence of the great influence Russia has over Armenian authorities.
The crime shocked the local community in Gyumri and, since Thursday, thousands have taken to the streets to pay their respect to the victims and demand that the suspect is handed over to Armenian authorities for prosecution. Huge rallies are being organised in different parts of Armenia. Thousands of people are fighting for justice in the streets. They are asking Armenia’s Prosecutor General Gevorg Kostanyan to respond to their questions and to follow up their demands. Amid growing tension, Kostanyan confirmed that the suspect will be tried in the territory of Armenia without mentioning in which Court: Armenian or Russian. He also assured the public that he will write an official letter to Russia's Prosecutor General presenting the main request of the citizens of Armenia. However many Armenians remain sceptical, and some even doubt that the murderer is on the territory of Armenia any more.
The situation is uncontrolled right now. Armenians want and require justice.