Nagorno-Karabakh War Veteran In Armenia Gets Six Years For 'Fraud'

By RFE/RL's Armenian Service

In Armenia, a veteran of the Nagorno-Karabakh war has been sentenced to six years in jail after being convicted of fraud and taking bribes.

A court in Yerevan on July 17 found the retired Armenian military officer, Volodya Avetisian, guilty of receiving money from two families in exchange for helping their sons avoid mandatory military service.

Avetisian, who has achieved prominence for his activities on behalf of Nagorno-Karabakh war veterans, was arrested in September.

His trial began in March. Avetisian pleaded not guilty, saying his case was politically motivated.

Avetisian's supporters have staged several protests since his arrest, demanding his immediate release.

They insist Avetisian's arrest and the charges against him are retaliation for protests he launched in May 2013 on Yerevan's Liberty Square to demand that the government provide more support for Nagorno-Karabakh war veterans.