“I dreamed of freedom.” Maral Najaryan about his story of captivity

“I dreamed of freedom.”  Maral Najaryan about his story of captivity

Armine Avetisyan, OC Media:

Maral Najaryan, a 50-year-old Lebanese-Armenian, moved to Armenia after the explosion in the port of Beirut in search of a safer and more peaceful life. The end of the second Karabakh war was a turning point for him. she և her fiancé Vigen Euljekyan ․ The Azeris took them captive in Karabakh.

Whether Maral was released, Vigen is still in prison.

“I had a beauty salon in Beirut. Manicurist էի I was a hairdresser, I worked with my daughter. After the economic crisis in Lebanon, everything became more complicated. “Everything was getting more expensive, which was a loss to the service sector.”

“I always thought that we should move to Armenia. My sister Ani agreed with me. At the beginning of August 2020, we bought plane tickets to Armenia. We were still in Beirut when the explosion took place a few days later, on August 4. The house shook, the floor was damaged, we thought for a moment that a war had started. That moment strengthened the decision to go to Armenia.

“On August 25, my sister and I were already in Armenia. We had been to Armenia before, it was not our first visit. ”

“We have decided from the beginning that we will live in Nagorno Karabakh. We were informed about the resettlement program. We stayed in Yerevan for a few days, on September 16 my sister and I moved to Nagorno Karabakh and settled in Berdzor [Լաչին]. We planned to live there for a while, settle down, and then bring the children to us. ”

“We were only in Berdzor for 11 days when the war started. We stayed there for a while, but when the situation escalated, my sister and I returned to Yerevan. We did not take any personal items with us. “We thought the fighting would end soon and we would be able to return in a few days.”

“When the war ended on November 10, my fiancé Vigen and I went to Berdzor to collect our belongings. We did not have anything in Yerevan. we were already renting at that time. First we took my things, then Vigen said that we were going to Shushi to collect his things.

“When we reached the outskirts of Shushi, we were stopped by Azerbaijani soldiers. They approached, took our phones and bags, then took us out of the car and examined us. I was trembling with fear, I did not even realize that I was a prisoner. At that moment, I thought I was going to die. ”

“They put us in a car, took us to their military base, where they changed the car. We continued our way. My eyes were not closed, I could see everything. It was a bumpy and unknown road. We went through the mountains for about five hours. “

“We had no news from Maral for 15 days. “Uncertainty was killing us,” says Maral’s sister, Ani. Photo by Armine Avetisyan / OC Media.

“When we arrived, Vigen was taken to different places. I was in a small room with a toilet. The bed was attached to the wall, on iron, leather. I was told that I could lie down or sleep. At that moment, I realized that I was a prisoner, I was in Azerbaijan. “

“At that time I did not think about myself, but about my sister and my family. They had no news from me. I knew they would worry. I did not have a phone and I did not know how to inform them about my condition. ”

“The next day they changed my room. I was interrogated and then taken to a cell where I stayed for three and a half months. I was constantly praying. My soul was tormented. “

“I received a letter from Azerbaijan. they wrote from my mother’s social network page. “Then I realized that he was a prisoner,” said Maral’s daughter. Photo by Armine Avetisyan / OC Media.
“I know you think about me, I think about you. I am in Azerbaijan. These days will pass, և we will meet. ” Maral’s sister and daughter read his letter from prison. Photo by Armine Avetisyan / OC Media.

“I was counting the days by making notes on the wall. On February 12, the representatives of the Red Cross visited me. Then I realized that I could be saved. Then I wrote a letter to my relatives informing them that I was alive. ”

“When I learned that I would be released, I was forced to be taken to Beirut because I missed my children and my adult mother who were there. When they opened the door and said that I was free, I felt how the bird in the cage would feel if it was released from the cage and told to jump! I’m back [Բեյրութ]”But Vigen is still there.”

On September 9, I returned to Armenia. I love Armenia very much. When I first visited, I was 14 years old and fell in love with the country. This is my house”.

“I am now attending manicure courses. I am studying, I will start working soon. My next goal is to buy a house, because I do not have a house here. I received a gift of a piece of land, a fundraiser was organized to build a house for me. Now I rent a house with my sister’s husband, my daughter and her fiancé. I am optimistic, everything will be fine. I am waiting for Vigen. I believe he will return. “

Translation by Zara Poghosyan

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