Two in Karabakh convicted of spying


Two in Karabakh convicted of spying


Two in Karabakh convicted of spying


Two ethnic Armenian residents of Nagorno-Karabakh received lengthy prison sentences on Tuesday as they were convicted of spying for Azerbaijan through the Internet, reports RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. 

A court in Stepanakert found Rafael Avagyan, a 22-year-old soldier, and his civilian friend David Barseghyan guilty of high treason and espionage, sentencing them to 11 and 10 years in prison respectively.

Both men pleaded not guilty to the accusations stemming from their communication with an obscure foreigner through a Russian online social network. They said they never thought that they are collaborating with Azerbaijani intelligence. 

The defendants’ lawyer was quoted by the radio station’s Stepanakert correspondent as calling the verdict unfair and arguing, among other things, that investigators failed to establish the identity of the alleged Azerbaijani agent who started communicating with his clients about a year ago.

The arrests of Avagyan and Barseghyan were announced by the Armenian National Security Service on June 25. In a statement, the NSS also reported the detention on similar charges of a 31-year-old woman serving in the Armenian army. 

The NSS said the woman, Mane Movsisyan, communicated through Facebook and other online networks with an unnamed Azerbaijani intelligence officer based in Turkey. It claimed that she gave him classified “information of military nature about Armenia.” 

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