YEREVAN (Armenianow.com) — An Armenian couple has been convicted and sentenced to prison terms more than a year after being repatriated from Azerbaijan. Yeghishe Gevorgian, his wife Ruzanna Mardanian and their three children spent nearly five years in Azerbaijan after illegally crossing the Armenian border and fleeing to Nakhijevan in dramatic circumstances in 2010.

Driving a van with his family inside, Gevorgian broke through the checkpoint at the heavily militarized border, but Armenian forces did not fire at the vehicle because it carried children then aged 3, 6 and 7.

They returned to Armenia in December 2014 through the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) after themselves deciding to be repatriated.

Gevorgian, who had eight previous convictions, fled Armenia because he felt he could be suspected of a heavy crime.

After being convicted of illegal border crossing, he was sentenced to five years in jail, and his wife to three years in jail. Both were discharged on parole with 1-year probation period.

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