Epress.am reported yesterday that contract serviceman Sevak Simonyan, despite having health problems, had been forced by a commander of a Vayk military unit to go to combat positions in November and was subsequently denied pay for his service. Today Epress.am received a phone call from presumably a staffer of the military unit’s financial department, who insisted that the aforementioned article contained false information. He then complained that the story had been reprinted by Haqqin.az, an Azerbaijani news website, saying; “How do you like that? Is it okay with you that Haqqin.az is writing about the issue?”
Our reporter explained to the caller that Epress.am was not responsible for the activities of other news agencies and told him that our editors would like to hear the military unit’s commanders’ side of the story as well. Shortly after, we received another call from a man who presented himself as a deputy commander of the unit and also expressed his disapproval of the fact that the Azerbaijani website had picked up the story. The official then urged Epress.am to remove the story and to not “smear the good name of the army.” Our reporter once again asked the deputy commander to send us a written opinion of the issue over e-mail, but by the end of the day, we had yet to receive one.
Incidentally, Epress.am later found out that officials from the military unit have also called the contract serviceman and promised to pay his salary for the month of November by the end of this month, claiming that “there have been some miscalculations with the amount due.”