Zaruhi’s Husband Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison (Update: Video)

YEREVAN, Armenia (A.W.)—On Oct. 14, Yanis Sarkisov was accused of beating to death his 20-year-old wife Zaruhi Petrosyan, and received a 10-year prison sentence.

Zaruhi Petrosyan

The chairperson of the Women’s Resource Center in Yerevan (WRCA), Lara Aharonian, told the Armenian Weekly that the verdict was satisfactory given the current Armenian reality. It is the maximum penalty under Article 112 (part 2, code 14: “intentional damage caused to health resulting in death”). Sarkisov could have received as little as a six-year jail term.

“Our expectations were so much lower that we were very happy hearing the judge pronouncing 10 years, the maximum. In reality we were expecting not more than six to eight years,” said Aharonian.

On Oct. 1, 2010, Petrosyan, the mother of an infant girl named Lilia, was killed after having sustained days of physical abuse at the hands of her husband and mother-in-law, according to her sister Hasmig.

The trial was fair, according to Aharonian. “[It was] conducted very well and the judge and prosecutor did their job in a very conscientious and professional way,” she said. “This is something we are not used to experiencing in Armenia.”

The Coalition to Stop Violence against Women played an important role throughout the trial, said Aharonian. The coalition, an umbrella for seven organizations including the WRCA, was formed after Petrosyan’s brutal death. During the final court session,  the defense team accused the coalition of pressuring the judge and the media, and demanded that its members be removed from the courtroom. The judge, however, paid no heed, said Aharonian. “It is fair to say that this is a first victory. Now it’s time to concentrate more on pushing the law on domestic violence, and to continue the work of the coalition in further promoting the cause.”

Sarkisov, who was arrested soon after Zaruhi’s death, denied having committed any crime. “I am not guilty,” he said in his initial statement. “She fell and died.”

According to Hasmig, by the time Zaruhi died, she had already been subjected to days of beatings, suffering broken knees and, ultimately, a crushed skull. Her sister believes her fingers were broken when she tried to dial for help. Neighbors said Sarkisov had thrown Zaruhi’s body down a flight of stairs to attribute her injuries to a fall.

Initial statements made by friends and family alleged that Sakisov’s mother, Lilia Sarkisova, also beat Zaruhi. Sarkisova, however, has not been charged, and currently has custody of Zaruhi’s daughter. Some activists have protested the placement of the child with Sarkisova, in the form of letters to the authorities and appeals to the Child Protection Agency.

Zaruhi Petrosyan’s death shed light on the problem of domestic violence in Armenia, and gave rise to calls for the adoption of domestic violence laws by authorities.

21 Comments on Zaruhi’s Husband Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison (Update: Video)

  1. avatar greg Kaprielian // October 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm // Reply

    Beating wife is also common by emigrating from Armenia to USA and is giving
    very bad image to our national values,
    this personality shoves should be stopped as soon as possible; it does not fit
    in civilized
    cultures. A real man is the one who deal respectful to weaker
    vessel, to his wife.

  2. avatar Leo Manuelian // October 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm // Reply

    And why does the mother face no charges? She should get 20 years. Her participation condoned her son’s actions and empowered him to continue beating his wife. And where will the child be placed?…with Zaruhi’s mother-in-law? Thank God this case was continually publicized in “The Weekly” and other Armenian news outlets. Keeping up the pressure may help so that the sentence is not reduced. 

  3. avatar Mike Mirakian // October 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm // Reply

    TEN YEARS! Is that what a life is worth in Armenia? Shame!

  4. What sentence will ever bring back Zaruhi? She was a beautiful woman, and so young too. Only God will give the husband and his mother their true punishments, when their times come. Unfortuantely, this is a crime (domestic violence) that is occurring all over the world far too frequently. Does anyone know how it can, at the very least, be slowed down? 

  5. ‘Beating wife is also common by emigrating from Armenia to USA ‘
    Really Greg ?  and you have studies or statistics to prove it ?
    I guess there was no such thing as domestic violence in  the US, before those immigrants from Armenia started showing up, right ?

    Mike Mirakian:
    In California, sentencing guidelines for Manslaughter are as follows:
    Voluntary manslaughter range:    3 years to 18 years
    Involuntary manslaughter  range: 2 years to 4 years
    I am no lawyer and don’t know what the US equivalent of the Armenian penal code’s Article 112 (“Intentional serious or heavy damage to health”) would be.
    But Zaruhi’s death seems to fit the definition of voluntary (intentional) manslaughter (not murder).
    And as to what a human life is worth or isn’t in Armenia versus, say, USA. 
    Let’s take a look at some stats:
    Fiscal Year 2010 (USA National)
                                (Average)Mean          Median
                                             Months        Months
    Murder                                          284.7         262.0            
    Manslaughter                               73.5            46.0
    Kidnapping/Hostage Taking    167.0          147.5
    Sexual Abuse                               113.1        108.0
    Assault                                           47.0          30.0
    And these are just the cases that got convictions and got prison terms.
    Most crimes in the USA get plea-bargained to far lesser charges.
    Most convictions get probation: no jail time.
    Then there are the cases where those charged walk, because…..:
    Despite overwhelming evidence of having committed two murders, O.J. Simpson walked free. (Jury decision)(he is in jail now for another crime in Las Vegas).
    Despite overwhelming evidence that he had killed his wife, Robert Blake (actor) walked free. (Jury decision)
    Despite overwhelming evidence that Casey Anthony had killed her own daughter (2 year old), she walked free. (Jury decision)
    So stop bashing Armenia every chance you get: stuff like this, and much worse, happens everywhere, including right here in the USA.
    It’s a good thing  that Zaruhi’s case got well deserved publicity, and the husband is going to jail for 10 years.  
    Hopefully, something bad will happen to him while he’s behind bars.
    Hopefully others will be deterred. 

  6. Zaruhi was murdered… her life was taken by her husband, Yanis,  and his mother, Lila.  Is Zaruhi’s life, as a mother,  only worth ten years in prison for a Yanis??
    This just shows that the value of women in Armenia is a shambles.  A disgrace!! And Zaruhi’s daughter is now being raised by a grand mother who was complicit in the killing of her own mother, Zaruhi.  That poor child, what a horrible fate… to be raised by a grand mother who participated in the death of her own mother!! Is justice being served this child??

    I attribute this inhumanity to males,,, as crimes which we attribute to the Turkeys… I had hoped that our Haiastan male leaderships, male police, male church leaders and more… obviously all composed of men… ALL who have not had the courage to face the fact that these so called “officials” (all male) have lost what shall have been historically, Armenain… recognition of the value of Armenian women.  
    Women, who are the grand mothers, mothers, wives, daughters, sisters… who have been there through all the our homeland has suffered at it worst – Turkish Genocide of the Armenian peoples!!  Why are not all the leaderships in our Armenian nation not able to recognize that all such abuses against our females is to be attributed to Armenian men – All were subject to the same horrors that the Turks pursued to eliminate the Armenians from their ancient and advanced lands… Turks knowing that they were to steal all that was of the Armenians… including perpetrating raping and torturing, and worse of our Armenian women.  

    One would think, that now, with our fledgling nation of twenty years (20) years that with all the advances to be accomplished.  – that the recognition of the inhumanity to our homeland’s females – who complement and establish and maintain our Armenian families. Actually, our Armenian women are what keeps the nation more grounded than what has been in the leaderships to this date. Did Hiasatansis not learn from all the cruelties that the Turks vented upon the women before they slaughtered our women.  Dear Lord, have we not learned via the inhumanities of Turks to Armenians… TODAY, ARMENIAN MEN’S ACTIONS AGAINST OUR ARMENIAN WOMEN EQUATES AS OUR ARMENIAN MEN, SAD TO SAY, AS VILE AS THE TURKISH GENOCIDE OF THE ARMENIANS THEN AND STILL.
    – I blame our misdirected Armenian leaderships of these twenty (20)years;
    – I blame the male oriented policemen who shall have been able to recognize that Zaruhi had need of protection against her an abusive male – as well as the mother-inlaw.
    – I blame the leaderships in Etchmadzin who shall have known to teach that the abuse and
    vile treatments by the males against females – is not of our Armenian culture – is against what our Christian Armenian religion would want for our women to have to bear!!

    Today, another great crime is being committed!!  Now, against Zaruhi and too  her own young child, her daughter.  IMAGINE!!  this young girl child – now  is to be raised by a grand mother who participated in the murder of her own mother, Zaruhi – what a cruel fate!!   I cry for her!  
    Not only without a mother, having a father who is a murderer, too, sent to be with  her grand mother, who contribued to her mother, Zaruhi’s death. Where has there been honesty and justice for those deserving justice… It seems to me that the criminals, have gotten away with murders..
    and today, in all honesty, I see the victim – today – is Zaruhi’s child, her daughter… 
    Zaruhi’s sister should be the one to raise this child – not any of those who had ANYTHING to do with her mother’s death – Yanis and his mother!!
    Are the male oriented courts of Armenian blinded and so besotted as to ignore that justice has not been served… Zaruhi murdered, her daughter cared for by one of the killers!!  
    Armenians, Haiastansis, this is the time to face up to the truths… Today, justice is NOT being served in our homeland of Haiastan… via the murder of our Zaruhi – and, too her daughter!!
    Hopefully, via our Haiastansi women, and our Armenian men, and all our diasporans Armenians the world over… we await to know – is justice being served to Zaruhi and her daughter – today!!


    • haha you are comparing a very extreme case of domestic violence with genocide? thanks for wasting ten minutes of my life.

  7. Absolutely Avery!  It’s not like there was no domestic violence in the US before emigrants from Armenia started to arrive.  However, there is more domestic violence and what is considered here child abuse because state doesn’t interfere in the family affairs as much as here.  On the upside there is very little instances of murders like this one.  While there is much more domestic murder cases in the US despite stricter laws and state oversight and interfering in the family.  So, you can imaging what would’ve happened here if the law wasn’t as strict here.  So, the punishment maybe sufficient there, it just has to happen, rather than turning blind eye.  Also, spending one year in prison in Armenia might be like 2 years here.

  8. lets make sure that he will be inside the prison for not less than 10 years.

  9. and what about her baby? did they find him (or her) ?

  10. ‘This just shows that the value of women in Armenia is a shambles. ‘
    I attribute this inhumanity to males,,,’
    ‘I had hoped that our Haiastan male leaderships, male police, male church leaders and more… obviously all composed of men… ‘
    Tens of thousands of Armenian men voluntarily faced death in 1988-1994 so that their mothers, wives, sisters, daughters would not have a repeat experience of what was done to Armenian women and young girls in Sumgait, Baku, Maragha…
    About 5,000 Armenian men made the ultimate sacrifice – death – to make sure their women were not harmed.
    Thousands more were  wounded, maimed, lost limbs, crippled.
    Every day young Armenian men stand guard day and night and risk death in Artsakh at the LOC – to protect whom ?
    Almost every month a young Armenian soldier is killed by Azeri snipers.
    But if you are a young man, you are expected to die. Nobody cares.
    There is no outrage. Men are expected to be killed protecting others: it’s their lot in life.
    Question: who was it that tried and sentenced the killer ?
    were the judges men or women ?
    And who was it that assisted the psychopathic  husband ?
    Is the evil mother-in-law also a male ?

  11. Only 10 years??????  That’s a joke! I would have beaten the sh•t out of that animal!

  12. @ AraK,

    That is exactly what’s going to happen to  Yanis when he’s in the slammer. Those hard core convicts will beat the crap out of him, then they will give him a new name, JANIS. And ten years later he will walk out of his jail cell without his “coconuts”. 

  13. Although anything that it’s done now will not bring back Zaruhi; but justice must be done and 10 years is NOT enough for the murderous husband nor the murderous mother-in-law the devil.  A good many posts above already raised the question why Zaruhi’s murderous mother-in-law is raising the poor child????


  14. Dear Editors of the Weekly,

    Please have one of your wonderful columnists write a good petition as I stated above;

    (1) That Zaruhi’s mother-in-law must be tried and sentenced for her crime as well.

    (2) That the child must never be under her care or jurisdiction.  That Zaruhi’s sister should raise the child and must be given to her.     

  15. avatar Grish Begian // October 15, 2011 at 1:40 pm // Reply

    I feel sorry for Zaruhi’s little daughter, she is like an orphan now..and I wonder how much will effect to a grown up girl psychologically in her later years ..That brainless man never thought about her daughter, when he was beating his wife!! I hope Zaruhi’s picture will stay everywhere in Armenia, that cruelty of domestic violence is not acceptable in civilized world!!  

  16. Women in Armenia can’t do it alone. They need our help.

  17. I honestly believe that our government is listening to Diaspora’s voice; through the heads of our organizations as well as through our inputs in our papers and our petitions.  Therefore to make our voices heard we can do it from Diaspora through any and all of the above mentioned.

  18. Avery,

    There is no need to become so defensive. I think we can say that there is  a major issue in Armenia: VIOLENCE against OURSELVES. Its not just man against woman, it is mother in laws against daughter laws. It is military against our young soldiers. It is teachers against children. 

    Young soldiers are dying at the hands of ARMENIAN sergeants, Armenian children are being physically hurt in primary school, wives, daughters and sons are victims of domestic violence. Yes, this happens in EVERY country. But here is no need to compare Hayastan to America or any other country because who cares what is happening in the rest of the world, we should care about HAYASTAN and making it the best country it can be. We should all work together to make Hayastan an even better country than it already is. 

  19. well Kara, you can call me defensive if you like, but there are cold, non-emotional reasons for most of my detailed posts.
    However, instead of objecting to my comments, maybe you should re-read what was it  I was objecting to.

    I object to statements such as this: 
     ‘Beating wife is also common by emigrating from Armenia to USA ‘  (Really ?)
    ‘I attribute this inhumanity to males,,,’   (i.e. males are inhuman: Really ?)
    ‘TEN YEARS! Is that what a life is worth in Armenia? Shame!’  
    (yeah,  only in Armenia you  get just 10 years for voluntary manslaughter.)

    I assume you  agree with those statements, since you did not object to those posts, but instead objected to mine.
    Yes  We should all work together to make Hayastan an even better country than it already is.’ 
    But when someone ascribes all the ills in Armenia to  the men of Armenia, how does that  then segue  to  men and women working together to solve problems  ?
    Why didn’t you object to those inflammatory posts ?

    And I am well aware of what goes on in Armenia.  I am also well aware of what goes on in most other countries. Reason I bring up examples from other countries is to show  my compatriots with hard facts that  most  negative impressions and generalizations  they have formed about Armenia are  false. Armenia is no paradise, but many amogst us cannot wait to besmirch her – based on nothing more than recycled misinformation or outright lies.  I am also well aware  of  some of the reasons and ulterior motives behind why it’s done.

    You are correct that our standards should be higher, and we should not be satisfied merely being the same as  most others. But Armenians are not  Martians. We have to have benchmarks for comparison from other societies that currently exist. Although we have a 5,000 year history, Republic of Armenia is only 20 years old,  it needs time to develop the civic institutions taken for granted in the West, for example.
    When the Founding Fathers of USA were formulating  the system of  our government, the Constitution, etc, for the newly formed nation, they copied many things from other civilizations, such as ancient Greece, the Roman republic (e.g. the concept of Senate),  and British common law. There is no shame in learning and copying from other countries who are better than us  in a given field.
    Law has a very long tradition amongst the English speaking peoples, all the way back to Magna Carta (1215 AD). US Law follows that tradition.
    When someone is given 10 years for voluntary manslaughter in Armenia, and people  emotionally state it is too little, and that somehow corruption or alleged misogyny in RoA   is responsible for the perceived lenient punishment, I point out that in another society that has a very long tradition of Law-and-Order, a similar crime draws average 6 years.
    Challenge me on facts, not what you believe my emotional state is.

  20. I appreciate Avery keeping the conversation balanced and not simply joining the self-flagellation.  He is absolutely right to point out an unfair bias.  At the same time, it is important to notice ‘signs’ of trouble when they occur.   My concern as a mother and a woman is that the ‘weak’ are protected by the law and law enforcement in Armenia, and when attitudes and behaviors don’t reflect this, to ask why not?  When a society doesn’t protect its weaker members, it is a sign of many other things being wrong and it deserves sounding an alarm over it.  For the good of the nation which has already suffered so much…

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