Monday, August 28, 2006

When will justice prevail?

It seems that attempts to get Artur Khanzadyan extradited to the United States from Armenia for the murder of his girlfriend Odet Tsaturyan failed.

According to the story below, he was sentenced to 10 years in an Armenia prison instead of being extradited to stand trial where the crime was committed.

What this equates to is that he will probably serve 3 years and then be let out. And the 3 years in jail is also a bit questionable, since Armenia prisons are known to let people pay bribes to serve their sentence while leading a normal life away from prison at home.

If you ask me, justice was not served in this case and there is a very good chance that the government who in the past have extradited criminals back to the U.S. were most probably paid some big bribes and/or Khanzadyan’s family have connections with people in high places.

Once again we have an example of Armenian corruption at work and this time it’s not the death of an Indian student, but 23-year-old Armenian girl who lost her life and the criminal responsible was protected by Robert Kocharian’s government.

Bad move Robert. Another strike against you and one step back for Armenia to normal international relations.

Glendale News Press, CA
Aug. 26, 2006

Man found guilty of killing girl

Judge in Armenia takes 30 minutes to render his decision, sentencing Glendale man to 10 years.

By Tania Chatila

GLENDALE - A judge in Armenia found 25-year-old Artur Khanzadyan of Glendale guilty on Friday of murdering his girlfriend nearly a year ago, then hiding her body in the trunk of his car, police said.

Judge Mushegh Harutunyan sentenced Khanzadyan - whose trial in Vanadzor, Armenia lasted two days - was to 10 years in an Armenian prison for the murder of 24-year-old Odet Tsaturyan with the act of jealousy, Glendale Police Officer John Balian said.

"I'm glad justice was done, he was sentenced and he will serve time, but I just think it would have been better if it was here.... He probably deserved much more than that. It was a heinous crime," said Amanda Ryan Romo, a former teacher of Tsaturyan's.

Tsaturyan, also of Glendale, left her family's home at about 5 p.m. on Sept. 6 for a party she never arrived at.

That same night, Khanzadyan, left his home at 6:30 p.m. and did not return.

Police believe Tsaturyan got into an argument with Khanzadyan before leaving her house that day, then agreed to meet him in Southwest Glendale, where her abandoned car was found on Sept. 13.

She was likely strangled to death that night, but her body was found three days later in the trunk of Khanzadyan's 2005 Audi, which was parked on a residential street in Azusa, Glendale Police Det. Craig Tweedy said.

Khanzadyan fled to Armenia where he was arrested by Armenian authorities in late November.

Three Glendale detectives - including Tweedy - traveled to Armenia to try to get Khanzadyan to voluntarily return to the United States, where he was charged with second-degree murder. But Khanzadyan - a citizen of Armenia - would not return on his own will and Armenian officials were not willing to denaturalize him to have him brought back, Tweedy said.

The U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with Armenia.

Glendale Police enlisted the help of Rep. Adam Schiff in trying to get Khanzadyan returned, but to no avail.

"I would have strongly preferred to have him brought back here for trial, where he would have faced life in prison or even death," Schiff said. "But I am glad he was found guilty and will serve time in Armenia. And I hope he serves the full sentence.... This is something we'll be watching."

Tweedy and Glendale Police Det. Tigran Topadzhikyan flew to Armenia on Sunday night to help the prosecution in the trial.

The Glendale Police Officers Assn. and Glendale's St. Peter Armenian Church Youth Ministries' Center raised $1,500 to also send Tsaturyan's father, Shagen Tsaturyan, to the trial.

"The father said that he was thankful for the detectives going out there," Balian said. "It was in his hometown."

During the trial, Khanzadyan's defense attorney, Karine Gasparyan, argued that he accidentally killed Odet Tsaturyan by placing his hand over her mouth, Tweedy said.

Gasparyan said Khanzadyan tried to resuscitate her, but was unable to, Tweedy said. Gasparyan also argued that the injuries to Odet Tsaturyan's neck were from Khanzadyan's efforts to administer CPR, and not from him strangling her, Tweedy said.

She also argued that a head injury Khanzadyan suffered as a child causes him to think irrationally, and that if Odet Tsaturyan was alive, she would have never accused him of intentionally trying to harm her, Tweedy said.

The judge took about 30 minutes before rendering a verdict and a sentence on Friday, Tweedy said.

But before the verdict was read, Khanzadyan had a chance to speak before the court, Tweedy said.

He apologized to those affected by incident, but denied intentionally killing Odet Tsaturyan, Tweedy said.

"I hope in the future when we have people who commit murder in our community flee to Armenia, we have more success in bringing the back to face charges here," Schiff said.

Still, the sentencing offers some kind of closure, Romo said.

"[Odet Tsaturyan] was bright, intelligent, dedicated to school work, dedicated to making something better of herself .... She was really driven," Romo said.

"I saw somebody dedicated to her job, coming to school and making something better of herself."

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