Armenian Fugitive Soldiers’ Case: Covered Up Or Promising Happy End?


17:11 ~U 05.11.13

An Armenian civic activist believes that the Defense Ministry’s
spokesperson downplays the four soldiers’ Saturday escape from a
military hospital by saying that the incident is not linked to any
serious development.

Speaking to, Tsovinar Harutyunyan, a member of the civic group
Army in Reality, said she is skeptical about Artsrun Hovhannisyan’s
statement that the servicemen will not face a criminal liability
because they were patients of a psychiatric department.

“The information has to be first of all much more precise and open.

The hospital does really have a psychiatric department which is
isolated from the rest of the clinic, so escaping from there is next
to impossible. If the soldiers receiving treatment in hospital flee
after the arrival of the military police, that already gives way to
concerns,” she explained.

Nazaryan said that the soldiers might have appeared at the psychiatric
department for two reasons: either because they had mental problems
initially or developed certain disorders during service. She called
for further strong efforts to find out the real circumstances that
caused the conscripts to flee.

Nazaryan did not rule out the possibility that the psychiatric
department might serve as a shelter for soldiers not having mental
disorders to facilitate their possible demobilization from compulsory

“[The incident] is being covered up in some way, so it is necessary
to find out what happened inside. We know they bitterly cried out for
help [after fleeing the hospital], which means they were really in a
bad situation,” she said, adding that the escape and the developments
that followed wouldn’t have taken place without any patronage from

Margarita Khachatryan, the president of the local NGO Zinvor (soldier),
told our correspondent later, that she has personally visited the
hospital for first hand information on the incident.

“They called me, and I went to hospital; I spent four hours at
the psychiatric department. Two people had fallen into depression,
unable to control their actions. The medical personnel calmed three
of them down, and I was next to them. Four soldiers had taken flight
and later returned after my call,” she said.

Asked what might have caused the soldiers to develop mental problems,
Khachatryan attributed that to individual and family circumstances.

“Separating from the families for the first time and not being able
to adapt themselves to the military unit, some of them appear under a
psychological pressure. If a fellow, who hasn’t ever before separated
from parents, appears on the territory of a military unit, he often
finds himself in a difficult moral-psychological condition. It is
necessary to carry out proper work to prevent them from falling into
depression in the first three months,” she said.

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