ARMENIA: Conscientious objector taken to Nagorno-Karabakh

CO-alert: War Resisters' International'

on conscientious objectors facing repression
18 January 2005

ARMENIA: Conscientious objector taken to Nagorno-Karabakh

Armen Grigoryan, a religious conscientious objector who is considering
to become a Jehovah's Witness, has been taken to an Armenian military
unit in Nagorno-Karabakh, Forum 18 News Service reported on 6 January 2005.
Armen Grigoryan, the 18-year-old son of a Jehovah's Witness family, was
summoned to the military recruitment office in Yerevan on 21 June 2004.
Within 24 hours and against his will he has been taken out of Armenia
and transferred to a military unit across the border in
Nagorno-Karabakh, which is formally part of Azerbaijan, but practically
controlled by an Armenian government of Nagorno-Karabakh.
On refusing to swear the military oath and sing the national anthem at
the military base in the Martuni region, Armen Grigoryan was beaten by
his superiors. With the help of his father, Grigoryan wrote to several
government departments and human rights organisation, but this seems to
have worsened his situation.

Lieutenant-General Vladik Khachatryan ordered that legal proceedings be
instituted against Armen Grigoryan. At the instigation of the
prosecutor's assistant, he was stripped and forced to stand in his
underwear in front of about 1,800 soldiers in the unit to tell them why
he refused to do military service. He was offerend alternative service
within the military, but refused, and demands to be provided with an
alternative civilian service.

In the presence of the unit commander, Armen Grigoryan again wrote an
application for alternative civilian service to Armenia's ombudsperson,
Larisa Alaverdyan. After a month Armen Grigoryan was briefly
hospitalised and managed to escape from his military unit in Karabakh on
25 August 2004. He is now being hunted. From his hiding place, Armen
Grigoryan has again written to the Armenian authorities that he is
willing to serve in a genuinely civilian alternative service.

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Armen
Grigoryan from military service, and an end to legal proceedings against
Armen Grigoryan.

War Resisters' International calls for protest letters to the Armenian
authorities, or Armenian embassies abroad. A protest email can be sent
at http://wri-irg.org/co/alerts/20050118a.html.

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of all
imprisoned conscientious objectors.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International

Mr Vartan Oskanian
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Government House #2
Republic Square
Yerevan 375010
Republic of Armenia
tel +374-1-544041
fax +374-1-562543
email info@armeniaforeignministry.com

Robert Kocharian
President of the Republic of Armenia
Baghramyan st. 24
Yerevan 375077
fax +374-1-521581, 521796, 151152

A list of Armenian embassies abroad can be found at
Conscription and Conscientious Objection Documentation
War Resisters' International
5 Caledonian Road - London N1 9DX - Britain
tel +44-20-7278 4040 - fax +44-20-7278 0444
email concodoc@wri-irg.org http://wri-irg.org

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