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Matagish Military Unit – A Den of Crime 

“A den of crime is formed at the Mataghis military unit of Martakert region”, – writes Forrights.am. Some of the military officers are charged with criminal offences, others are already indicted for various crimes, however they are not even dismissed from service and continue their work. Violent acts against soldiers are a compulsory part of this work. Mandatory service conscripts are being tortured, punished in a sadistic manner. This “work” is headed by Armen Gyozalyan, Commander of the military unit. 

Major Artur Fahradyan, head of headquarters of the Artillery Battalion, deputy to Gyozalyan, is the “right hand” of the Commander and is known to be the cruelest officer. He is from Armavir Marz by birth, has been living in Artsakh for some time, is not married. The 31-year-old major has twice stood trial, however for the third time, the military prosecutor’s office of the Third Garrison, Judges Gnel Gasparyan and Davit Sargsyan of Syunik Court have manifestly demonstrated a mild attitude towards him. 

On the night of June 12, 2018, Major Fahradyan laid the soldiers on the ground and walked over them. This was a manner of punishing the boys for eating food in the dormitories after the command “Sleep”. 

Catching them on the spot, Major Fahradyan beat three of them – Junior Sergeants Mkhitar Sargsyan, Sergey Grigoryan and Narek Poghosyan. The verdict reads: “He beat with the inside of his both hands and with a great force in both sides of the face of Sergey Grigoryan, pushed his chest with hands, hit once in the left side of Mkhitar Sargsyan’s face and inflicted physical pain to the them.”

The Mayor was not satisfied with this much. On the next morning, at 07:30, he lined up Narek Poghosyan, Shahen Poghosyan, Tevan Hambardzumyan, Tigran Mkhitaryan, Davit Chatyan and Khoren Garbielyan in front of the Battalion’s building. He hit with a plastic bottle in the face and shoulder of Sargent Poghosyan inflicting bodily injuries. He gave a “Lie down Press” command and walked over them inflicting bodily injuries.   

On August 22, 2018, the court decided on a measure of restraint, that being a pledge not to leave. 

During the pretrial investigation conducted by the military prosecutor’s office, Fahradyan was not isolated and only a pledge of not leaving the area was obtained from him. This mild attitude towards the sadist Major was demonstrated by deputy Prosecutor of the 3rd Military Garrison, Boris Bakhshyan. The latter became a judge in May, 2019.

Artur Fahradyan was charged with offences under RA Criminal Code, Article 358.1, Part 3, Clause 2 and Clause 3, which is: violent acts towards a subordinate or threats thereof towards two or more persons by using a weapon or any object serving as a weapon. 

In February, Judge Davit Sargsyan of Goris Court conducted a fast-track trial of the case. Only one court hearing was appointed on February 19 and on the same day, he made the verdict by sentencing Mayor Fahradyan to 4 years of imprisonment, however given the various merits of Fahradyan, the numerous prizes and honorary mentions given to him by Commander Gyozalyan, the Court ruled a conditional punishment, that being a probation. 

The “brave” Mayor’s behavior was decent for only a few months. This year he has again beaten a soldier and has violated his probation terms. 

According to the Prosecutor’s office, “Artur Fahradyan is charged for beating and inflicting physical pain to his subordinate, conscript Simple B. Hovhannisyan while holding a high-ranking position at the military unit and in relation to conducting military service duties.” 

Only one court hearing has taken place, the second one is due on August 28. And again, neither the military prosecutor’s office of the 3rd Garrison, nor Judge Gnel Gasparyan of Sisian have issued a restraining measure. Commander Gyozalyan is not in a hurry to dismiss his “right hand” Fahradyan from his work with the soldiers.

Artsrun Hovhannisyan, Press Secretary of the Ministry of Defense, in his response to Forrights.am has stated: “Gyozalyan is not making a decision of dismissal for a conditional charge of hitting a soldier.” 

Forrights.am website concludes that “this means, the least, that those beating up soldiers are under the patronage of the Defense Ministry and Military Unit’s command and for some reasons are also encouraged by them. 

Today the criminal Mayor feels completely protected by the prosecutor’s office, the courts, his commander Armen Gyozalyan, Minister of Defense Davit Tonoyan, while criminal acts continue to take place at Mataghis military unit.”