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Russian Soldier to Stand Trial for Murder of Family in Armenia

People light candles during a memorial ceremony for six-month-old boy Sergei Avetisyan at the Liberty Square in Yerevan, after Avetisyan died of his wounds in hospital on Monday following a killing spree in Gyumri last week, Jan. 20, 2015.

The head of Russia's Investigative Committee said the high-profile trial of a Russian soldier accused of massacring an Armenian family will be held in Armenia, news agency RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.

The suspect in the killings, Valery Permyakov, was detained by Russian authorities last week while trying to enter Turkey. He has confessed to killing seven members of a family, including a baby and a toddler, in the Armenian city of Gyumri near where he was stationed at a Russian military base. The motive remains unclear.

The killings sparked mass protests in the city last week, with several demonstrators injured and detained after gathering near the Russian military base to demand that Permyakov be brought to justice by Armenian courts.

Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee, said from Yerevan on Tuesday that Armenian and Russian police would work together on Permyakov's trial.

"The public trial in Armenia will be testament to the commitment of both sides to justice and a fair trial," Bastrykin was cited as saying by RIA Novosti.

The investigation into the incident will be conducted jointly by Russia and Armenia, Vladimir Markin, spokesman for Russia's Investigative Committee, said in an online statement Tuesday.

Armenian investigators who questioned Permyakov after his detention said the Jan. 12 killings were committed with an AK-47 assault rifle. Permyakov said during questioning that he'd stopped at the family's home because he was thirsty, Russian media reported. 

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