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On Sept. 1, Come Dressed in Black to Protest Non-Combat Army Deaths

In response to the public outcry to recent incidents in the Armenian army, a group of concerned persons, along with the mothers of the young conscripts killed while not in combat, will be staging a peaceful protest outside the government building in Yerevan’s Republic Square on Sept. 1 at 11 am.

Organizers encourage members of the public to join them and to come dressed in black.

“The purpose of the protest is to call on President [Serzh] Sargsyan and Defense Minister [Seyran] Ohanyan to stop human rights abuses within the ranks of the Armenian military and to demand an immediate, fair, and transparent investigation of the deaths in the military.

“The most recent cases are Aghasi Abrahamyan, 18, who was brutally killed on August 26 at the military unit of Yeghnikner, Karabakh, after 9 months of service. Two weeks before this, Vardan Sevyan, 19, was killed at the military unit of Goris. In 2011, already 19 deaths have been registered in the military. There [are] no available statistics about the number of violence, rapes, young people becoming disabled after the military service,” reads the statement by organizers on the event’s Facebook page.

As reported earlier, another Facebook event page has been created to gather donations on Sept. 3 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm near Tamamyan’s statue at Yerevan’s famed Cascade to assist Vardan Sevyan’s family. While yet another Facebook page was created seeking answers regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of Aghasi Abrahamyan.

“Continuously learning of such deplorable events, Armenian youth hesitate to serve in the national army. For many, this uncertainty turns into fear, and fear is a soldier’s first enemy,” reads the Facebook page creators’ statement.