“The other boys’ parents called and said they had found Arthur; I asked if he was alive, they said no”

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Despite the pre-holiday commotion in the capital, the work on improving the graves of the boys killed in the 44-day war has not stopped in Yerablur [military cemetery]. Many parents have placed Christmas trees and holiday decorations next to their sons’ pictures.

Anna Gasparyan, the mother of Arthur Gasparyan, who died in the war, will celebrate the New Year next to her son. She makes sure that her son’s tombstone is properly placed until this day.

Arthur served in Martuni 3, was one of the 73 soldiers who went missing during the war when they were moved to Hadrut. We have referred to this case many times before. We had reported that the soldiers were sent to Hadrut when the settlement was no longer in the hands of the enemy. We also had informed that back in April, 2021, the former commander of the Artsakh Defense Army, Lieutenant General Jalal Harutyunyan was interrogated as a witness in the criminal case initiated in connection with this case.

On February 13, a criminal case under Article 375, Part 4 of the RA Criminal Code (inaction of the government during the war) was initiated against the commander of the 18th Rifle Division of the Defense Army, Major General Karen Arstamyan. The signature on not leaving the country was used as a precautionary measure against him.

The last time Anna Gasparyan spoke to her son was on October 11. Arthur said they were taking them somwhere, but he did not know where. He promised to call as soon as he arrived. After that, there were no more news from him.

“He decided to become an “I am” programmer. He said, ‘Mom, what are two years, what are three years? We are boys, we will serve and we will return’. And he was always highly respectful towards the army. He had no fear whatsoever. He did not complain about anything ever. He always called. I always told him, ‘Arthur, call: I’m concerned.’ But when he did not call, I was already worried. I thought something was wrong. But I did not imagine he was killed.

When other boys’ parents called and said they had found Arthur, I asked if Arthur was alive, they said no,” said the mother of the dead soldier.

The soldier’s remains arrived in Yerevan on December 7 of last year. Ignoring everyone’s urgings, the mother entered the morgue to see her son for the last time. Although she considers her decision to be right, she says that after that her mental hardships do not stop:

“I went in and saw… There was no head… no leg. Only clothes. I wanted to see for myself in what condition he was. It was hard, but I said I want to see my son for the last time. Even after DNA confirmation, I entered Heratsi [medical center] again. They would not let me in, but I went in. You have seen your child always in good condition, and when you see him in that state, you suffer more…”

Ani Gevorgyan