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Armenia jails Russian soldier for life for slaying family of 7

AFP , Tuesday 23 Aug 2016
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Armenia on Tuesday jailed a Russian soldier for life for killing a family of seven near his base in Armenia in a case that sparked outrage in the ex-Soviet republic.

Conscript soldier Valery Permyakov was convicted of murdering a couple and their adult son and daughter, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren in their home in Gyumri, some 90 kilometres (55 miles) from the capital Yerevan in January 2015.

Locals took to the streets to demand justice after the soldier went on a rampage, shooting six people including the couple's two-year-old granddaughter and stabbing their six-month-old grandson.

Permyakov, who has undergone several psychiatric tests and has been ruled sane, has pleaded guilty but the reasons behind the murders remain unclear.

It remains unclear whether he will serve his sentence in Russia or Armenia.

The soldier, who was 18 at the time of the murders according to local media reports, was arrested after trying to flee to Turkey. His boots and Kalashnikov rifle were found at the murder scene.

Since then, he has been held at Russia's military base at Gyumri.

Armenia's general prosecutor last year ruled he could not be handed over to the Armenian authorities because he is a Russian citizen being held in Russian jurisdiction.

That decision sparked outrage and a wave of rare anti-Moscow protests in the tiny Caucasus country of 2.9 million with thousands rallying to demand he be put on trial over the killings.

In a bid to calm the situation, Russia agreed to try Permyakov on desertion charges while allowing him to be tried for murder by an Armenian judge -- but with the trial held at the base.

A Russian military court last year sentenced Permyakov to 10 years in a high-security prison for deserting his base.

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