Artur Asatryan (aka Don Pipo), the shadowy criminal figure arrested on June 16 on kidnapping and illegal arms possession charges, was a no-show at the first hearing of his trial today at an Armavir court.
Why Asatryan, now in detention, never appeared remains a mystery. Did he simply refuse to be taken to the court or was there another reason involved? The court failed to provide details.
Asatryan is charged with the kidnapping of three individuals -Arkady Kochinyan, Artak Ayvazyan and Vazgen Ghazakhetsyan – who were part of a group allegedly planning to murder him.
Two other defendants in the case also charged in the kidnapping - Andranik Soghoyan (aka Zap) and Gevorg Melikyan (aka Oshakan Gevorik) - were also no-shows.
Those charged with planning to murder Asatryan, Melikyan and Soghoyan, were brought to the court, but the lawyer for only one of them, Zohrab Ghoumashyan showed up. Attorneys for the others had notified the court that they couldn’t appear because of a heavy work load.
The court had no option but to postpone the trial.
To complicate matters, Arkady Kochinyan stated that he didn’t want a court appointed defense attorney and wished to represent himself. The court, however, did not remove his public defender, Armineh Fanyan, from the courtroom.
The next trial date was set for July 20.