Mher Yenokyan

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Loose: Two dig out of maximum security facility in Goris

By Zhanna Alexanyan ArmeniaNow Reporter

For the first time since the Soviet era, there has been an escape from Armenia’s maximum security facility for criminals.

Earlier this week, it was learned that Mher Yenokyan and Soghomon Kocharyan had slipped out of the Goris prison sometime last Friday, apparently by digging through the lockup’s 1.5-meter thick wall.

The men, both serving life sentences for murder, remain at large and a reward has been offered for information leading to their capture. Roads leading out of Goris are now tightly patrolled and cars going out of the area are subject to search by police.

Ministry of Justice press secretary Ara Saghatelyan says an investigation is underway to determine how the men managed to escape.

Kocharyan, 38, was sentenced in 1995 for killing an Iranian national and stealing his car. After eight years in other prisons, he was transferred to Goris last year.

Yenokyan, 29, was sentenced in 1996 for killing a classmate in the third-year of studies at a Yerevan medical institute. An accomplice, Aram Harutyunyan, was sentenced to 15 years.

Varduhi Ohanyan, Yenokyan’s mother, said the escape was an action of protest since her son’s appeal to review his case has been ignored.

The family of Iosiph Aghajanov, Yenokyan’s victim, says they are very worried, knowing Yenokyan is at large.

Minister of Justice Davit Harutyunyan called the incident a “pitiful case”.

“Unfortunately such things can’t be prevented 100 percent,” Harutyunyan said. “We still have old buildings that are poorly protected. The Goris prison has been built in 1890 and has spared its resources as such.”