“If my son did not survive miraculously or did not remember what had happened, he would have been blamed for the shots,” says soldier’s mother

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Aparan resident Anahit Galstyan sent her twin sons to the army to serve in the same military unit. The boys served on the frontier line in Martakert’s 5th military unit. One of the boys, Argishti Hakobyan, was conscripted with 3 formed and 2 unformed spine hernias. The Military Medical Commission recognized him suitable for military service.

“On December 13, a doctor from the Martakert hospital called my husband, telling him that our son was seriously injured and was in the hospital, in a very serious condition”.

When the father reached Martakert from Aparan, the officers told him that Argishti Hakobyan had wounded himself with a weapon. “He wanted to do a trick with his Kalashnikov machinegun,” they said. It’s a fairy tale. They told that he, with using just his foot, was able to shot himself under the heart in a way that the bullet went out of his kidneys. I am amazed that soldiers can give such an explanation that a person can shoot himself from such a position,” said the mother.

As a result of the shooting, most of the 19-year-old Argishti’s internal organs were damaged. The bullet went right next his heart, damaging a lung, the liver, the gallbladder, the right kidney, the colon, the duodenum, and now it is sewed to his stomach. After six months, Argishti will be undergoing another surgery. The doctors have removed his right kidney and gallbladder. The liver was damaged to a point that, according to the mother, the doctor was afraid to perform surgery. “The doctors were surprised that my baby survived,” states the mother.

Before the second operation, when the condition was extremely severe, Argishti decided to tell his mother the truth. “He said, mom, I want to say something, please do not tell anybody, no one can know, especially my brother Areg so that he does not have problems in the military unit. He said that he did not do it himself, swearing that he was shot by somebody else and telling how he had been asked not to give the shooter’s name.”

The author of the unintentional shot, according to the parent, is H.M. from the city of Abovyan, who tried to make a joke with Argishti. And after shooting, scared of its results, begged him not to give his name.

On December 24, a criminal case was filed according part 1 of Article 373 of the Criminal Code of Armenia (negligence with weapon, which caused an injury).

The soldier’s father, Aram Hakobyan, thinks that filing a case under this article is odd. “My child’s injuries cannot be considered light. And most offending part is that my son is in bed for more than a month and absolutely nobody cares that there is an injured soldier in the hospital. I do not understand how it could be,” said the soldier’s father complaining. “I am very grateful to the medical staff, but the rest– the military command or the Ministry of Defense—are indifferent, they do not care if the soldier died or not. None of them ever called to inquire how thing were going, was he alive or not. This is insulting.”

A few days ago, Argishti gave testimony to the investigator. Only then they started to suspect the co-serviceman. According to the soldier’s mother, if, God forbid, her son did not survive, the case would be closed.

And now, Argishti’s mother is concerned for her other son serving in the same military unit. “Well, you know how boys can be. I am very worried.”

In response to our inquiry, the Investigative Committee of the RA responded that during the preliminary investigation of the criminal case initiated by Article 373 of the RA Criminal Code, it was revealed that A. Hakobyan had received the mentioned injuries from a co-serviceman, compulsory military serviceman H.M., from a gunshot wound caused by violation of the rules of arms handling.

According to the evidence obtained by the IC, H.M. was charged under Part 2 of Article 373 of the Criminal Code of the RA and, as a preventive measure, was not arrested or detained, but was handed over to the control of the military unit’s command. The preliminary investigation on the criminal case continues.

Marine Kharatyan

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