Gayane Abrahamyan

ArmeniaNow reporter

Thirty-one-year-old Nazaryan died in the military unit under
questionable circumstances

A 31-year old lieutenant has become the latest Armenian soldier to
die under questionable circumstances while serving in a combat post.

Artak Nazaryan died Tuesday at his base in the Tavush province. The
Ministry of Defense says Nazaryan - who joined the army for contract
service eight months ago - used a machine gun to commit suicide.

His family, however, says the MOD is lying.

According to Nazaryan's mother, forensic investigation found traces
of violence from a blunt instrument on her son's body.

"A few days ago, when I talked to him, I felt that he was very worried
about something, he was confused. It is an evident murder case. My
son was killed in the morning, and we were informed about it only at
5 p.m. It means that they were trying to clean the murder traces by
then," says Nazaryan's mother Hasmik Hovhannisyan.

Nazaryan's friends say that he was a very even tempered and quiet
person, who could have never commit suicide, moreover he was not a
simple conscript - he was a commander.

Nazaryan served as a conscript in 2000-2001, but later, because he
was a specialist of oriental studies and fluent in Persian, he served
one year in Tehran, Iran, as an ambassador attache, translator.

Human rights defender Arthur Sakunts, Head of Helsinki Citizens'
Assembly Vanadzor Office, says that it was an evident murder case.

"This is a horrible tragedy, which at the same time registers another
terrible tendency that not only conscripts but also officers and
commanders are being subject to violence and killed in army during
the recent two-three years," Sakunts told ArmeniaNow. According to
official data, this is the first death registered in the army this
year attributed to non-military actions. Over the years, however,
Armenia's army has had dozens of cases of soldier-on-soldier violence
and officer-to-conscript violence that resulted in death.

From: A. Papazian