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Armenian Soldier Faces Jail If Not Found Mentally Disordered After Azeri Captivity

Contract soldier Andranik Grigoryan has not been diagnosed with somatic diseases after his release on November 18 from a nine-month captivity in Azerbaijan, yet the soldier's relatives have serious concerns about his mental health, ArmLur.am reports.

Armen Harutyunyan, the soldier's brother-in-law, told the media outlet that on December 9 the family visited Andranik at the Shushi prison hospital, and “his behavior was really concerning.”

“He behaved very strangely. He recognized us but showed no reaction. He didn't look like himself. I had heard that he was inadequate… but I could not believe my own eyes when I saw him,” Harutyunyan said.

The brother-in-law said they were not allowed to go near Andranik and communicated with him through a glass window. Military authorities, he added, have assured them that the soldier will be cleared of desertion charges if he is diagnosed with mental disorders. “He saw his parents and did not react in any way to them. As if he was not even glad to see us. Doctors examine him every 5-10 days, but we're not very hopeful. He'd say things like 'There's a new cableway in our village, have you ridden it yet?' or 'I wanted to go for a swim in the Caspian Sea, but the Turks did not let me.' I've always had an injured hand, and he tells me 'When did you cut your hand? Does it hurt?'”

Grigoryan's service contract was due to expire one month after his crossing into Azerbaijan, Harutyunyan said, so “desertion is ruled out.” “He had signed a 3-year contract and it was due to expire in a month. We're expecting a public defender from Yerevan. We'll have to wait and see what happens.”

Recall, as stated by NKR authorities, Grigoryan had left one of the eastern military units of the NKR Defense Army and crossed the border into Azerbaijan on March 22, 2015, leaving arms and ammunition behind. He was extradited by Azerbaijan to the Karabakh authorities on November 18, 2015.