The Moscow City Court today extended the detention of Hrachya Harutyunyan, an Armenian national arrested in Russia over a fatal car crash that left 18 bus passengers dead, till April 14.
Talking to A1+, Harutyunyan’s lawyer Ruben Margaryan said his client used his right to a speedy trial and leave the decision to leave to extend the period of detention on the discretion of the court.
The lawyer says Harutyunyan was illegally held in custody for two months which conflicts with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
“Extension of illegal detention is also illegal,” he said adding that they are going to appeal the decision.
On July 13, 2013, near Podolsk, just outside of Moscow, the breaks of the truck Hrachya Harutyunyan was driving gave out, and the truck hit a bus, killing 18 passengers. More than 30 people were hospitalized. If convicted, Harutyunyan faces up to 7 years in prison. The Armenian national also sustained injuries. In this state, he was taken immediately from the hospital to the courtroom dressed in a woman’s housecoat, where he constantly tried to hide his face from the camera and wept. This treatment of a citizen of Armenia sparked a wave of protests outside the Russian Embassy in Yerevan.