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Russian Soldier Who Massacred Armenian Family to Face Military Tribunal

Russian soldier Valery Permyakov

A Russian soldier who confessed to killing an Armenian family in January will face a military tribunal at Russia's army base in Armenia, the Interfax news agency reported Sunday.

Russian soldier Valery Permyakov, who had been based in the Armenian city of Gyumri, confessed in January to having killed seven members of a local Armenian family, including an infant and a toddler. It remains unclear what prompted the soldier to break into the home of the Avetisyan family and commit the massacre.

The announcement that Permyakov would be tried at the military base was made Sunday by lawmaker Leonid Slutsky, who heads the State Duma's Committee on CIS Affairs and Relations With Russian Nationals Abroad.

Russian parliamentarians were in Yerevan on Saturday to meet with their Armenian counterparts as Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin prepares to make an official visit to the country on Monday.

The head of Russia's Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, said in January that Permyakov would have a public trial in Armenia.

"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 state news agency RIA Novosti at the time.

Slutsky cast doubt Sunday on Bastrykin's statement, saying it was still unclear whether Permyakov's trial would be held behind closed doors or be open to the public, Interfax reported.

The massacre of the Avetisyan family sparked a wave of mass protests in Gyumri and around Armenia. In January, several demonstrators were injured and detained after gathering near the Russian military base to demand that Permyakov face justice on Armenian soil.

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