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Protesting Mothers Demand Minister Publicly Punish Those Guilty of Beating Soldiers

Four mothers whose sons died in non-combat conditions in the army, who were once again protesting outside the Armenian government building while the government meeting was in session, approached defense minister Seyran Ohanyan and asked that those who beat military conscript Mher Khlghatyan be punished publicly in Republic Square. Recall, Khlghatyan was recently transferred to the Central Military Hospital with bodily injuries and acute pneumonia.

The protesting mothers said that nearly all the ministers after the meeting leave the building from the back entrance, and so they are unable to meet with the defense minister, which is why they've decided to voice their concerns through the media.

Nana Muradyan, mother of Valeriy Muradyan who died in 2010, said the minister openly lies and doesn't fulfill his promises. "He said that everything is stricter [now] in the military units, that he gave instructions to strengthen control, that there will be no [more] victims in the army, and every guilty person will be punished, as well as no ill soldier will be drafted into the army, and so on. Where are the promises? None of what he said corresponds to the truth," she said.

Muradyan stressed that the defense minister is obliged to prove to the nation that he is true to his word; otherwise, it would prove that a defense minister doesn't exist, that "he's just a balloon in the air."   

"The year has begun and already how many victims are there in the army? When will they put an end to this? The minister said, 'What should we do? How to prevent these incidents in the army?' If the minister cannot punish [the guilty], we will tell him what to do: let him bring the perpetrators, chuck them in the square, and we mothers will kill them like dogs. If they punish someone once publicly, others will be afraid and there will no longer be such incidents," she said. 

Gohar Ohanjanyan, the mother of Tigran Ohanjanyan who died in 2007, added that every guilty person should be punished in the way that he behaved with the soldier he killed: "If he hit him with his hands, let them cut off his hands; if he kicked him with his feet, let them cut off his feet. Let them determine the punishment and not make empty promises."