“They killed my child. What had my child done to deserve to be killed? I don’t believe that he committed suicide,” says Armen Manukyan, the father of Arsen Manukyan, who was fatally wounded by gunfire in the Sisian positions 15 days ago.
The circumstances of the 19-year-old soldier’s death are unknown to the family. Arsen, who served for a little more than a year, was buried in Vardenis, his birthplace.
Manukyans have not yet received any clarification from the state institutions. The soldiers who came from the military unit to Vardenis for the soldier’s funeral did not tell the family anything.
“The commanders of the battalion and another commander came [who were actually] unaware of their military unit. They hung their heads and stood there. They said, there would be an investigation for two months, but what if I have heart attck?” says the father of the soldier.
According to Armen Manukyan, his son received gunshot wounds on his forehead and head, from the front and back.
According to Arsen’s brother, Zaven, there was an argument at the positions, which was followed by shots. “There was an argument, they don’t say exactly what happened, but there was an argument and then the shot was heard. They don’t say who shot, how they shot,” says Zaven Manukyan.
According to the brother, Arsen never said that he had any problems with his fellow soldiers. However, attention is being drawn to the fact that Arsen asked his family for money from time to time, up to 10 thousand drams. Both times he provided an account number that did not belong to him to transfer the money, stating that his card was left in the ATM.
On July 14, the Ministry of Defense issued a statement on the incident, according to which Arsen died from a gunshot wound to the head. The department also announced that an investigation is being conducted to fully clarify the circumstances of the incident.
It is noteworthy that in the official message distributed by the defense department headed by Suren Papikyan, there is not a single word of condolence or any consolation addressed to the parents of the boy regarding the death of the latter.
Arsen’s family considers his death unbelievable. The father looks at the picture of his son in military uniform, tries to drown his sorrow in one cigarette after another and says: “If he was killed by a Turkish gun, I would say that it was for our safety, but how can an Armenian kill my child, in peaceful conditions?”
The family thainks that Arsen died earlier but they were informed about it much later. The family’s claim is based on the fact that Arsen’s body began to decoy a few hours after it was taken out from the morgue to bring to Vardenis. The Manukyans demand an explanation as to how it was possible for the body of their son, who died two days ago, to be in that condition. The relatives, hearing about the unfortunate incident, left for Sisian to go up to the positions and find out the real causes of death.
“We wanted to go to the positions on the same day, but they deceived us; they said that they will gather here (Gegharkunik). From Sisian to Yerevan, the commanders deceived us in a hundred ways. We have reached Sisian, they were hiding in Vaik. In Sisan, we met the ambulance of the Ministry of Defense, we stopped it to see if it was our child and then to go up the positions. They were ordered not to stop anywhere, and they didn’t stop until the end, knowing that we were his family. They arranged it so that we followed them to Yerevan and we did not go to the positions,” says Armen Manukyan’s uncle, Edik Manukyan, and emphasizes that the reasons for Arsen’s death should be revealed.
According to him, Arsen was transported from Syunik naked in a bag. “Why would the child be naked, in a bag? Where were his personal clothes, his notebook, bank card, phone? There is nothing yet. Why was the child naked? We entrusted these children to them; they should reach their parents without any tribulations.”
“He was full of goals,” says Arsen’s mother, Anahit Manukyan. She spoke with her son for the last time on July 11. “He should have stepped down the positions on July 14. There was no connection; there was a power problem, that’s why we didn’t talk. He spoke on the 11th of the month, said that he would come down on the 14th. He was on vacation, he had to come. That day we hear that… now he has come… I cannot believe that he is not with us, I feel like that he is still serving,” says the mother, looking at her son’s picture.
“He had willpower, he was satisfied with little,” says his mother, ruling out the possibility of suicide.
The regional military commissariat informed the family about Arsen’s death. After 15 days, the family does not have the autopsy doctor’s conclusion about the causes of Arsen’s death. The General Prosecutor’s Office headed by Artur Davtyan and the Investigative Committee headed by Argishti Kyaramyan have not officially announced any criminal case initiated in relation to Arsen’s death. However, family members say that an investigation is underway. According to them, the sergant of the position is in prison.