Armenian shepherd dragged and beaten by Azerbaijanis – Ombudsman

The criminal attack of dragging and beating the Aravus village shepherd by Azerbaijani military servicemen confirms the urgent need for a security zone around Syunik, Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan says.

Immediately after this information, the Human Rights Defender of Armenia initiated fact-finding activities with the involvement of the Syunik subdivision of the Defender’s Staff.

The shepherd submitted alarming complaints to the Staff of the Human Rights Defender that he grazed 14 large and small cattle on a pasture about 500 meters from his house on 18 April 2021. Between 5 and 6 pm, when he was in the area about 50 meters away from the Azerbaijani positions, he was approached by three Azerbaijani armed servicemen.

According to the shepherd, the Azerbaijani military servicemen first threatened him with weapons, and then two of them pulled him and tried to take him to the trench in the direction of the Azerbaijani positions by force. The Azerbaijanis constantly cursed and threatened the man.

As Armenian servicemen rushed for help, the third Azerbaijani serviceman hit the shepherd in the eye, causing a bruise and immediately fled to their positions.

During the Human Rights Defender’s Office fact-finding activities, it was also established that the Azerbaijani military had shouted insults at the shepherd in the same place of the Aravus village, and at around 7 pm he received threats from Azerbaijani soldiers who were openly displaying firearms on 20 April 2021.

The staff of the Human Rights Defender also recorded the alarming interview of the head of Aravus village about the incident in mass media.

The head of the Aravus village informed the Human Rights Defender’s Office that there are houses in the villagers less than 500 meters away from the Azerbaijani positions (for example, 100 or 200 meters). This fact was also recorded by the Human Rights Defender’s Office monitoring conducted at the site.

The RA Human Rights Defender specifically states that the Azerbaijani servicemen committed a criminal attack on an Armenian border resident. This confirms the gross violations of the internationally recognized rights of the citizens of the Republic of Armenia, as well as the rights enshrined in the Constitution of Armenia.

These are rights to physical and psychological immunity; right to property and other vital rights.

This incident clearly substantiates the Human Rights Defender’s proposal on creating a security zone around Syunik province in order to guarantee rights of Armenian citizens.

There should be no Azerbaijani soldiers, signs or flags in the immediate vicinity of the Syunik villages and on the roads connecting the communities of the province, the Ombudsman says.

Armenia’s Human Rights Defender will send the information about these incidents to relevant international organizations, as well as will include it in the security zone concept.

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