VOLODYA AVETISYAN CASE: FRIENDS OF JAILED WAR VET CLAIM HIS FAMILY UNDER PRESSURE
HUMAN RIGHTS | 17.03.15 | 11:49
By SARA KHOJOYAN
Karabakh water veteran, retired Colonel Volodya Avetisyan, who was
sentenced to 6.5 years imprisonment for fraud last year, needs help,
his friends say. That’s why members of a committee in defense of
Volodya Avetisyan have organized a fundraising campaign to collect
That amount Avetisyan’s family is supposed to pay to the state budget
under the sentence, according to which the colonel of the reserve
army took $2,000 from a citizen with a promise to support the latter’s
grandson to be released from military service and committed fraud.
The committee head, Gagik Sarukhanyan, said that pressure against
Avetisyan’s large family still continues after 18 months since
Volodya’s imprisonment, the family faces losing the only source of
income of their family – a piece of land, despite health problems his
son was drafted to the army, Avetisyan’s wife and mother are sick,
two teenage sons can barely earn the family’s living.
“We received information that those individuals who have been the
servants of this regime, are waiting for the Service for the Mandatory
Execution of Judicial Acts (SMEJA) of Armenia to take the land on sale,
and although they do not need it, they are going to buy it and not
even use it, just to put more pressure on Volodya,” Sarukhanyan told
reporters on Monday, refusing to identify the mentioned individuals.
The retired colonel believes that Avetisyan’s son with health problems
was conscripted solely to cause pressure on Avetisyan.
“It was possible to legally release him from the military service,
but he wasn’t, Volodya’s two other sons served in the army (Avetisyan
has six sons), but this son was not supposed to be sent to military
service. He has a stomach ulcer, heart problems, the boy was
hospitalized four times before already.”
However, even in prison Avetisyan does not give up and does not give
way to pressures.
“He has a combative predisposition, he is free, only inside the
prison walls, because freedom for him is first the freedom of mind and
spirit,” Sarukhanyan added reminding that from Vardashen penitentiary
Avetisyan urged everyone to stand up, get rid of the regime and to
liberate the country.
Investigation against Avetisyan started still in 2013 shortly after he
started protests demanding better conditions for Karabakh war veterans.
All three judicial instances confirmed the verdict of the
pre-investigation body, according to which the colonel of the reserve
army committed fraud twice, once, taking $2,000 from a citizen with
a promise to assist in releasing the latter’s grandson from military
service, in the other – removing a military serviceman from one
military base to another for $500.
However, Avetisyan’s family, friends and lawyer Ara Zakaryan claim
that he is persecuted and is jailed because of organizing protests
against the government. With sufficient financial means they are
going to turn to the European Court of Human Rights.
Authorities had all along denied that Avetisyan’s imprisonment and
trial were politically motivated.