Servicemen’s Families Continue Protest

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Wednesday marked the third day of protests in Yerevan’s central square by the family members of 12 servicemen who were illegally called into military service–Noyan Tapan reported yesterday.

The protesters from Yerevan and Armenia’s other regions are demanding the return of their relatives–and on Tuesday–staged a sit-down strike in the center of the Republic Square in Yerevan in support of their claims.

The children of the draftees were holding signs reading–"Bring Our Fathers Back." The demonstrators said that on April 25–the draftees were handcuffed and beaten and were taken to the Central Military Assembly Place where they were kept for five days and then sent to different military units.

The relatives of the draftees appealed to the National Assembly of Armenia–the presidential administration and the Defense Ministry of Armenia–but received no official response.

"If our deman’s are not met–we will fall back on extreme measures–and that is going on a hunger-strike," they said.

Artur Petrossian–an expert for the standing Committee for Defense–National Security and Interior Affairs at the National Assembly of Armenia–said that under Article 24 of Armenia’s Law "On Military Service" adopted in 1991–persons of draft age having two or more children are not subject to conscription and are given a deferment of military service.

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