A robbery of a weapon took place in Mataghis military unit in July, our source in the military unit told the Journalists for Human Rights NGO. No official information is available on the incident. However, using our sources, we found out that the disappeared weapon was a machine gun, and law enforcement bodies are dealing with the case.

Interestingly, the commander of the military unit Armen Gyozalyan also decided to catch the thief. He suspected that the weapon was stolen by a conscript, currently demobilized soldier  S.M.

The commander decided to punish the soldier. The young man was ordered to sit on the bench in front of the military headquarters, was deprived of the opportunity to eat and sleep at nights. S.M. spent 3 days on the bench, while it was the time for him to be discharged from the army. S.M. was illegally held at the place of service for those three days.

We contacted S.M. to verify the information we received from our source in the military unit. He is from the Lori region and, before serving in the army, has lived in Magdeburg, Germany,.

S.M. remembers the commander’s punishment with revulsion. He did not deny that such an incident happened, but declined to give details. He only said that his discharge has been delayed not for three, but seven days.

Artsakh Republic lawyer Arman Baghryan, who is representing S.M.’s interests, told Forrights.am that a criminal case has been initiated in connection with the theft of weapon. His client, S.M. has been charged. The lawyer did not provide further details.

Did your client commit theft or not? The lawyer answered this question: “I cannot say whether he stole the weapon or not, it will be clear after the investigation is over.” So, is it possible that your client has actually stolen a gun? Baghryan’s answer to this question was: “I can’t tell you whether such a case has happened or not. At the moment, I am informed by him that this has not happened. ”

In response to our inquiry, Naira Harutyunyan, spokeswoman for the Investigative Committee, said: “The Third Garrison Investigation Division of the RA Criminal Investigation Department has charged S.M., a compulsory conscript, with Article 238, Part 1 of the RA Criminal Code (“Plunder and extortion of weapons and explosives”), Article 235 Part 1 of the Criminal Code (“Unlawful purchase, sale, possession, transfer or wearing of firearm”). S.M. is forbidden to leave the country.  The preliminary investigation is ongoing. ”

Our investigation of the Mataghis military unit’s crimes and criminal cases titled “The soldier was thrown to the ground and beaten by feet” and “The officer lay down the soldiers and walked over them” angered Defense Ministry officials. Instead of launching internal investigations into the military unit, war against Forrights.am began on the Internet by fake figures, a spate of denials, and even journalists’ demonstrative visit to the Mataghis military unit was organized, where journalists were fed-drank and allowed to hear, record and spread the commanders’ words of self-praise and obviously false denials.

For example, in one of the interviews the commander of the military unit, Armen Gyozalyan, claimed that his deputy Major Arthur Fahradyan, about who we had written that he had laid on the ground and walked over the soldiers a year ago, had not actually happen. “I deny it. What was mentioned in the article (walking over soldiers), did not happen. Everything is distorted there. Fahradyan tried to raise his hand on the soldier and was punished for it,” Gyozalyan told armeniasputnik.am.

Meanwhile, according to the information found by Datalex forensics search engine, Fahradyan ordered the soldiers to “lie down” and walked over them, inflicting bodily harms. “The Major testified in court about this, so his case was processed expeditiously.”

It looks like new evidence emerged regarding another case of violence in the Mataghis military unit that has initiated on February 10.

An eyewitnesses was found who testified that he saw officers of that military unit Erik Khamperyan, Garnik Khachatryan, Harutyun Minasyan and Albert Khachatryan brutally beating a conscript, currently discharged A.Kh. on that day.

The latter informed us that the officers of the battalion saw him with a cigarette in his hand near the smoking space, and when he tried to explain it, they threatened to bring his parent and shame in front of the troops. The soldier replied to the officers who insulted his parent and was subjected to “lynching” by them. However, he had no evidence, as A.Kh.’s fellow servicemen initially wrote that he had been beaten, but later, under some circumstances, changed their initial testimony, alleging that A. Kh. also attacked the officers. As a result, the beaten serviceman, as well as the officers, became accused.

Now that an eyewitness has appeared, the preliminary investigation will take another course.

Responding to a report by the Journalists for Human Rights NGO’s assessment that the Mataghis military unit is a crime lodge where officers have been abusing soldiers for years and remain unpunished, Commander Gyozalyan said:

“As for the accusation of sadism and calling the military a ‘crime lodge’ and calling everyone a ‘sadist’, these are just discrediting words to the military on duty. There are no sadists here.”

Syuzan Simonyan

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