YEREVAN—The International Committee of the Red Cross on Thursday began a dialogue to discuss the fate of an Armenian citizen captured by Azerbaijan, which depicted him in a video Wednesday as claiming to be an Artsakh soldier who was captured by Azerbaijani forces and labeled a “provocateur.”
In the video Zaven Karapetyan, whom the Azeris said was from the village of Dovegh in the Tavush Province of Armenia and is shown, in a disheveled state, “confessing” to being a paid soldier for Artsakh.
The Artsakh Defense Ministry denied any ties to Karapetyan who in the video claimed that he was born November 16, 1974 in Dovegh. However, the military uniform and other visible elements in the video clearly demonstrate that the so-called confession was a fake.
The ICRC’s Armenia Communication Program Manager Zara Amatuni told Armenpress that her organization has begun “a dialogue” with Armenian and Azerbaijani authorities over the Karapetyan incident.
“The ICRC conducts confidential and bilateral dialogue with the sides concerned to obtain access to the detained person. Visits to persons detained in relation to conflict fall under ICRC mandate according to the norms of international humanitarian law,” she said.
Armenian Police confirm his name and date of birth, but according to their records he was born in Nor Kharberd village of the Ararat province and is currently registered at a convalescence home in Vanadzor.
Earlier Vanadzor’s Mayor Mamikon Aslanyan told Armenpress the person who has appeared in the territory of Azerbaijan, Zaven H. Karapetyan, has a criminal record and suffers from mental health issues.
“He lived an uncertain life. He was registered at the convalescence home just to receive a passport, since he had no permanent residence. He lived in different parts of Vanadzor at different times, collected garbage and was homeless. He is not from Vanadzor. I don’t know from which facility he comes, but he had an uncertain lifestyle. We have had no information about him for many years,” Aslanyan said.
The local village official of Dovegh village Samvel Gorginyan told Armenpress that he doesn’t know Zaven H. Karapetyan, no such person lives in their community and he has no information.
Armenian Defense Ministry spokesperson Artsrun Hovhannisyan said that Azerbaijan’s practice of falsely depicting civilians as saboteurs is well known to Armenian authorities.
“This person is a civilian. He doesn’t serve in our army: even his appearance clearly shows this. We are familiar with the Azerbaijani methods of presenting ordinary people as saboteurs,”Hovhannisyan said.
The statement released by Armenian law enforcement officials said that in 1978, Karapetyan was admitted into an orphanage in the town of Gavar, but then left in 1982 for secondary school in Sovetashen. In 1994, he moved to Vanadzor to live in a home provided by the Charles Aznavour Foundation with a former schoolmate. According to the statement, he lived for four years, after which he was moved to another home on property of the “Armenia” Sanatorium in Vanadzor, where he lived alone.
Karapetyan was registered in a nursing home in Vanadzor in 2004 and received a passport the same year. After his passport expired, he never applied for a new one.
Karapetyan has never served in the Armenian Armed Forces because of his mental health issues and was exempt from military service by Armenia’s Defense Ministry on Dec. 12, 1993.
In recent years, Karapetyan has been known to wander from place to place without a permanent residence. According to the statement, he engaged in cattle breeding to earn a living and has always avoided social interactions due to his mental disorder.