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Defense MInistry Calls Father of Conscript Allegedly Assaulted in Army in for Questioning

Robert Hovhannisyan, father of conscript Rafik Hovhannisyan, was called in for questioning at the RA Ministry of Defense on Wednesday, according to the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly (HCA) Vanadzor Office.

Recall, Robert Hovannisyan had approached the human rights organization and said that an officer in the battalion, seeing a phone in his son’s hand, snatched it and ordered him to do push-ups as a form of punishment. The son, according to the father’s story, refused, as a result of which he was subject to “a beating, violence and inhumane treatment.” Hovhannisyan was then taken to the medical unit of the base, then later moved to the hospital in Goris, where he received treatment and underwent some tests.

The HCA Vanadzor Office then submitted a claim to the RA Military Prosecutor’s Office. On Tuesday, the defense ministry issued a statement refuting allegations that a senior officer assaulted Rafik Hovhannisyan. According to the ministry’s official version of the incident, Hovhannisyan was prohibited from using his cell phone since “he did not have a right to have a personal phone and could only use the [shared] mobile phone in his unit.”

Rafik Harutyunyan’s serious health issues, as well as the lack of a guarantee of his and his relatives’ safety and to refrain from any pressure do not give grounds to trust the explanations from both the conscript and his parent after the issue has been made public, said the HCA Vanadzor Office, meaning the conscript and his father may be subject to pressure now that the incident has been made public.

According to the human rights activists, the RA Ministry of Defense did not address the health issues of Rafik Hovannisyan, subject to a beating in the army, which was the reason why he was deferred once in 2008. Also not explained is the validity of Rafik Hovannisyan being subject to the draft in Jun. 2011.