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Whereabouts Of Russian Soldier Arrested Over Armenian Woman's Killing Unknown


Outrage In Armenia: Russian Soldier Arrested For Woman's Killing
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WATCH: Outrage In Armenia: Russian Soldier Arrested For Woman's Killing

YEREVAN – The whereabouts of a Russian soldier arrested in Armenia over the killing of a local woman have been unknown for days.

On December 13, Armenia's Judicial Department said that the soldier serving at Russia's 102nd military base in Armenia's northwestern city of Gyumri was arrested on the decision of the Shirak regional court a day earlier, but did not specify if the suspect was in Armenian custody or at the Russian military base.

The Prosecutor-General's Office has declined to answer RFE/RL's questions about charges faced by the suspect.

Armenian authorities said on December 11 that the soldier, whose identity has not been disclosed, was suspected of beating a 57-year-old local woman, Julieta Ghukasian, who died during her transfer to a hospital, on December 2.

The Russian Embassy in Yerevan initially rejected media reports suggesting that the woman was beaten by Russian soldiers.

Yerevan-based human rights defender Artur Sakunts told RFE/RL that the possible detention of the suspect at the Russian military base would contradict an Armenian-Russian agreement, according to which, Russian soldiers who committed crimes against Armenian nationals on Armenian territory must be handed to Armenian authorities for prosecution.

Sakunts added that the situation looks similar to a 2015 incident, when a Russian soldier from the base in Gyumri, Moscow's main foothold in the South Caucasus region, murdered seven members of an Armenian family.

Private Valery Permyakov was held at the Russian military base before and after a local court in August 2016 sentenced him to life in prison.

Many Armenians expressed concern over a Russian cover-up of the massacre.

Permyakov was later transferred to Russia to serve his sentence.

The case sparked large protests in Armenia against the Russian military presence in the country.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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