A group of parents whose sons died in the army in circumstances not related to combat duty have threatened to start a sitting strike near the presidential office in Yerevan and stay there until the head of state meets them personally.
The citizens, who have held similar weekly protests in front of the government building for years, said they have lost all hope to get a proper response to their demands from the government and from now on will seek justice from the president only.
The cases brought up by the angry mothers mainly concern non-combat deaths in the ranks in which according to official versions of the events servicemen either committed suicides or became victims of accidents. Meanwhile, the parents do not believe the official versions and suspect their sons became victims of hazing and when they got killed through beating or otherwise, their deaths were presented as suicides or accidents to cover up the crimes of officers or fellow servicemen.
Nana Muradian, the mother of one of such soldiers, Valerik Muradian, who died in the army five years ago, said that during a meeting with Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian last summer they got a promise that their meeting with President Serzh Sarkisian would be organized.
“When we showed to Abrahamian the photographs and pointed out the contradictions in the criminal cases, he got surprised that such a simple case had not been properly investigated and solved,” she said, adding that the prime minister promised his personal mediation in organizing the meeting with President Sarkisian, who is the supreme commander-in-chief of the armed forces by the Armenian Constitution.
Gohar Sarkisian (no relation to the president), the mother of Tigran Ohanjanian, who died in the army in 2007, said that they were told by the government administration that their data had already been forwarded to the presidential office and that they would soon be invited to a meeting.
“Let the supreme commander-in-chief provides an answer to us why the murderers of our sons are not brought to justice,” she said.
The police allowed the women to hold their protest on the sidewalk of the avenue adjacent to the presidential palace, but they did not allow them to approach the building itself.
According to the presidential press service, President Sarkisian was on a working visit to Moscow, Russia, on November 6.