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Former Conscript’s Family Still Uncertain How Son Received Serious Head Injury While In Service

Davit Baghikyan, a 20-year-old native of the village of Angeghakot in Armenia’s Syunik province, received a severe head injury on April 10, 2017, in a military unit in the Nagorno-Karabakh Nerkin Horatagh village; the circumstances of the incident, however, are still incomprehensible to the former soldier’s family. Baghikyan, who was a conscript of 8 months at the time of the incident, is currently undergoing rehabilitation at the University Clinical Hospital N1 in Yerevan. In an interview with Epress.am, the young man’s father Samvel Baghikyan and uncle Grisha Baghikyan talked about the few fragmentary pieces of information that have become available to them since the incident.

“[Officials] are not telling the whole truth. The kid has yet to say anything concrete as well. He once said that the driver was to blame, but now he says he remembers nothing,” the father told us. According to him, the family have been told by officials that Davit’s head had somehow gotten stuck between a car and a water tank.

“The commander told several soldiers they had to tie a water tank to the back of a car; there were 3-4 of them. But then the car rolled down the slope, and they were unable to stop it…” Baghikyan recalled that after the incident they were told that another serviceman had injured his hand: “However, the commander later said it was a lie.” The father added he was unaware whether charges have been brought against the driver. “I tried to speak with one of my son’s fellow soldiers, but he said he did not know anything. I think he is scared to talk.”

Davit is still unable to walk and is getting massages; he regularly needs certain medications, but the family don’t always manage to find the money to buy them. “The Ministry of Defense should be helping us. We are so angry with this ministry. They need to be dispersed because they never work properly,” the young man’s uncle argued.

According to the father, the Defense Ministry gave 500 000 drams to the family once and have done nothing to help them ever since. The family wrote the defense minister an appeal letter and have received the following reply: “Under the N778 Government decree from November 27, 2000, the Ministry can only provide financial aid to former servicemen registered with the Defense Ministry department of social protection and to family member of servicemen who died while in service. In view of the above-mentioned, it is impossible to grant your request for financial assistance.”