The parents of several Armenian soldiers who regularly hold protest demonstrations outside state institutions demanding thorough and fair investigations into their sons' non-combat deaths denounced today the recently introduced government bill seeking a new tax for raising social benefits paid to the families of servicemen killed or seriously injured in action. According to the bill, the program will be financed from a fund to which every working Armenian citizen will be obligated to contribute 1,000 drams (about $2) per month.
The parents, who had gathered outside the government offices on Thursday morning, expressed skepticism over the plan, insisting that the citizens' contribution would hardly serve their actual purpose. “Look what's happening here! Let these officials [finance the program] with the money they have already looted and not ask for more from this poor people! These 1000 drams will also go to their pocket; they'll label the soldiers' deaths a suicide and take the money,” Irina Ghazaryan, the mother of conscript Artur Ghazaryan who died while serving in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2010, told reporters.
The woman also commented on Armenia's new Prosecutor General Artur Davtyan's promise to meet with the parents and discuss each of the cases individually. Since then, according to her, Davtyan has only met with soldier Valery Muradyan's mother, Nana Muradyan, while others are still waiting for their turn. “I don't understand what they are waiting for. They are not going to discover anything new; Artur Davtyan, along with everyone else there, is well aware of our cases. But I promise, whatever they do, I will fight for the truth to the end.”
During the protest action, Ghazaryan saw Deputy Prosecutor General Armen Harutyunyan entering the main government building and tried to follow him inside. However, her entry was prevented by a government security officer, who also took away her son's photo from the woman's hands and tore it to pieces. When Ghazaryan complained about the incident to other law enforcement officers, the latter denied that such a thing had happened.