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Gyumri Massacre Defendant Pleads Guilty To Murder

Valery Permyakov in court in Gyumri on January 18
Valery Permyakov in court in Gyumri on January 18

A Russian soldier charged with killing an Armenian family of seven has pleaded guilty.

Valery Permyakov, a 19-year-old Russian private, pleaded guilty on January 22 to all charges. If convicted, he could face a life sentence.

The trial then was adjourned until January 29 at the request of relatives of the victims who are expected to testify.

On January 12, 2015, six members of Gyumri's Avetisian family were found dead in their house -- including a 2-year-old girl. All the victims were shot or stabbed to death.

A 6-month-old boy who was seriously wounded died a week later.

Permyakov was detained the next day near the Armenian-Turkish border.

The case led to mass protests in Gyumri and Yerevan against Russia's military presence in the country and calls for the trial to be heard by Armenian judges instead of Russian military judges.

In August, a Russian court found Permyakov guilty of desertion and other charges. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was then handed over to Armenia for trial on murder charges.

Russia maintains a garrison of around 3,000 soldiers at the 102nd Military Base in Gyumri, some 120 kilometers northwest of Yerevan.

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