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Parents of Dead Soldiers ‘Are Not to Be Seen’ by Delegation Expected at Presidential Palace

Thursday afternoon Nana Muradyan and Irina Ghazaryan, the mothers two Armenian soldiers who died in the army in non-combat conditions, were once again prohibited by law enforcement officers from walking past the gates of the Armenian President's residence.

Last week the women were allowed to stand in front of the gates only after the intervention of Armenia's human rights defender's staffers. Today, however, the police were adament that the parents should not approach the residence; they backed the decision up by citing “service needs.” Later they added that a delegation was expected at the presidential palace, and the mothers could not stand in front of the gates.

“Basically, we are not to be seen by this delegation,” Irina Ghazaryan commented.

Nana Muradyan argued that they only wanted to pass by the gates: “We'll just stand there for a minute so that Serzh Sargsyan sees we are going to keep coming here.”

Upon receiving a categorical rejection from the officers, Muradyan and Ghazaryan walked onto the carriageway which resulted in a skirmish with the police, and Irina Ghazaryan was dragged to the opposite sidewalk.

Ombudsman staffer Rafayel Poghosyan, who had arrived at the site at the request of Nana Muradyan, failed to convince the police to let the mothers approach the gates, and when the women inquired as to whether they had no right to stand in front of the presidential palace, he urged them to file a relevant appeal with the human rights defender's office.

“As long as my son's murderer remains unpunished, I'll come here to remind Serzh Sargsyan that he bears the main responsibility for it,” Muradyan said.