One of the captured in September Armenian soldiers, who has already returned to his country, told Forrights.am details about the days of captivity on condition of anonymity: “Those were cruel days,” said our interlocutor, recalling the 20 days he spent in Azerbaijan.
After capturing the Armenian soldiers, the enemy takes them to the military police of Azerbaijan, where they regularly beat them for no reason, and then take them to prison.
“We were beaten quite a lot before we appeared in prison. You could not sit or lie down in the military police of Baku; you had to stand tall so that when they look through the door glass they see that you are standing. One could dream about sleeping. If we didn’t stay standing, 6-7 people entered the room and beat us for breaking the order. Even if we were standing still, they came and beat us every 30 minutes, with 6-7 people, quite brutally,” said our interlocutor.
The interlocutor of Forrights.am said that there were 22 people in the position and they fought against the enemy for three days. It is noteworthy that this soldier and two other soldiers were captured on the morning of September 15, when about ceasefire was announced on September 14.
“We were attacked four kilometers away from the city of Jermuk. The buildings, the lights, everything was visible, it was the forest and Jermuk,” he said and noted that they would never have imagined that they could be captured in the streets of Jermuk. According to him, it took 7-8 hours from the vicinity of Jermuk to reach Baku.
All the way, the captured boys were subjected to psychological and physical violence. The enemy demanded them to say that Yerevan [capital of Armenia] and other Armenian settlements are part of Azerbaijan.
The Ministry of Defense did not provide any explanation to the parents as to why the boys were captured after the cease-fire, questions remained unanswered as to why the Armenian soldiers were left with only automatic weapons against the Azerbaijani anti-aircraft guns. “Help did not come from our direction, behind us. Innumerable drones came to our direction and all we had were only automatic guns. They give away the positions, and the soldiers as well,” he said.
The parents claim that their son was psychologically abused by the military police, and their complaints were not properly investigated at the Ministry of Defense. “I’m afraid, he has very acute problems,” say worried parents.
The soldiers who returned to their homeland after the brutal capture in Baku are subjected to psychological violence here too. Armenian soldiers who were transferred from Azerbaijan to the military police of Armenia were blamed for not blowing themselves up and being captured.
“The only possible option was to commit suicide to avoid being captured. The situation was such that I was the only one with a weapon, the two people behind me had already put down their weapons on the order of the enemy sniper. Roughly speaking, the lives of the three of us were in my hands. During that time, I managed to think about my family, my relatives, I couldn’t decide what to do until the end, dying at that moment was much easier than living, because when you decide to live, you don’t know what trials you will go through. We were captured after being under siege for two days. We took part in the war, we caused loss to the enemy, each of us took 4-5 lives and were captured on the way of retreat.
Captivity is presented as an unforgivable sin against the state and the nation. The perception was that it was better to die than to be captured. This is a common view in both the Armed Forces and the Military Police. In the Military Police, they said, ‘Didn’t you have a grenade to blow yourself up?’ My answer was, ‘No, of course we didn’t, those should have provided didn’t provide us with grenades,'” our interlocutor told us about the treatment he received after returning to his homeland.
This soldier will soon be conscripted into the army. According to his parents, he has serious psychological problems, his rib was broken from the enemy’s beatings. The family mentioned that there are also problems with his head, but the hospital refuses to perform a CT scan. The mother presented one episode about how indifferent the authorities are to the servicemen.
“On the third day after their return, they were still wearing sports clothes and rubber slippers given by Baku.”
The parents of the soldier appealed to the HRD Kristinne Grigoryan to protect their son’s rights: they believe that he is not subject to military service due to his current health condition.
The Minister of Defense of Armenia has nothing to say about the problems of the boys who returned from captivity. We asked the minister Suren Papikyan, who arrived at the National Assembly surrounded by security guards on September 14, whether it is possible to make legislative changes and to demobilize servicemen with psychological and physical problems who have returned from captivity. “I don’t think so,” said Suren Papikyan and he left safely accompanied by his bodyguards.