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NAGORNO-KARABAKH: Conscientious objector imprisoned at unknown place / reports of mistreatment

  • Armenia

War Resisters' International received a report from Forum 18 News Service about conscientious objector Gagik Mirzoyan. Mirzoyan, a Baptist, who refuses on religious grounds to serve in the military of the unrecognised republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, was called up for military service on 6 December 2004. It is presently not known where he is being held. Baptist sources in Nagorno-Karabakh told Forum 18 News Service that Gagik Mirzoyan was beaten by one of his unit commanders on 15 December 2004, after he rejected attempts to pressure him to abandon his faith and serve in the army. He was again beaten for 1 1/2 hours by the Armenian Apostolic military chaplain Fr Petros Yezegyan, who visited him on 25 December. When his relatives tried to visit Gagik Mirzoyan at the education unit on 31 December, they were told that he had been transferred. The republic's Defence Ministry refused to comment. On repeated questioning, the only comment Forum 18 News Service was able to get was that Mirzoyan is still alive, but the Ministry declined to say where he is being held. There is confusion about the legal situation. While a spokesperson of the Defence Ministry said that he will be sentenced if he refuses to swear an oath and take up arms, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry said that the Armenian law on conscientious objection would also apply in the republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh has been under martial law since 1992.

War Resisters' International calls on the authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh to immediately release Gagik Mirzoyan, and to inform his relatives immediately about his whereabouts. War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh: Arman Melikian
Foreign Minister
Fax +374-71-71551
A protest email can be sent at War Resisters' International calls on Nagorno-Karabakh to recognise the right to conscientious objection.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International

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