The Court of Appeal hearing into the case of Valery Permyakov—a serviceman of the 102nd Russian Military Base in Gyumri, Armenia—began on Thursday. 

Permyakov’s attorney, Eduard Aghajanyan, had filed an appeal of the decision of the court of first instance, and with respect to the charge of the Russian soldier’s attempt to illegally cross the Armenia-Turkey border. 

In his defense argument, the attorney had noted that the defendant pleaded guilty for charges of murder. But the lawyer insisted that his client was not guilty regarding the charge of attempting to illegally cross the border.

The appellate court hearing began with a long debate on whether Aghajanyan is authorized to partake in this process.

It turned out that defendant Valery Permyakov had submitted a petition three days ago, and to the effect that he has no objections with any of the points in the aforesaid decision of the court of first instance, and that he had not appeared at court at his own wish. 

As per Aghajanyan, Permyakov’s retracting his appeal calls the attorney’s respective powers into question. The lawyer added, however, that he could not personally ascertain the wishes of his client, and therefore he motioned the court to carry this out.

The court decided to adjourn until November 18 and try to secure the defendant’s attendance to the next hearing,  and instructed the attorney to meet with his client and find out his position. 

To note, Valery Permyakov was found guilty of the brutal murder of Avetisyan family of Gyumri. The murder took place on January 12, 2015. According to the indictment, Valery Permyakov entered the Avetisyan family home on that day, and he killed home residents Aida Avetisyan, Hasmik Avetisyan, Seryozha Avetisyan, Armen Avetisyan, Araksya Poghosyan, and little girl Hasmik Avetisyan. Subsequently, he stabbed 6-month-old Seryozha Avetisyan five times. The baby boy died in the hospital one week later.

Permyakov was apprehended by the Russian border guards near the Armenian-Turkish border, on the same night of this murder, he was arrested on January 14, and is held in custody at the Russian military base.

Armenia and Russia instituted criminal cases on charges of murder and military desertion, respectively. On August 12, 2015, the Russian court sentenced Permyakov to ten years in prison. And on October 16 of the same year, Armenia formally brought criminal charges against the Russian soldier.

And on August 23, 2016, the court found Valery Permyakov guilty of all charges—murder, robbery, and attempt to cross the Armenian state border—that were brought against him. And he was sentenced to life in prison.