June 15, 2011 - 10:57 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Hayazn youth organization launched collection of signatures in support of granting Armenian citizenship to ex-commander of Shushi battalion, hero of Karabakh war, citizen of Lebanon Zhirayr Sefilyan.
Hayazn representative Armen Mkrtchyan told journalists on June 15 that Zirayr Sefilyan repeatedly appealed to the authorities of Armenia and Artsakh to grant him citizenship, however they refused. Mkrtchyan also said that on June 10 Zhirayr Sefilyan turned 44, and Hayazn movement activists are going to hold a procession to the President’s residence and hand over the appeal with signatures. He added that they have already collected 4000 signatures.
Mkrtchyan reminded that their organization, which is not affiliated to any political force, was set up in 2009 with a purpose to bring up patriotic young generation.
Zhirayr Sefilyan is an Armenian military man and a politician. Colonel lieutenant Sefilyan is the ex-commander of Shushi battalion, hero of Karabakh war, holder of the order “Fighting Cross of the 1st degree”. He also coordinates a public initiative called “In protection of liberated territories” and Armenian Volunteers Union NGO.
Zhirayr Sefilyan was born to an Armenian family in Beirut. During the civil war in Lebanon, he partook in defense of the Armenian community, was an activist of the Lebanese office of Dashnaktsutyun Party. In 1990, the Party commissioned him to Armenia as a military instructor to train volunteers. In 1991, it was the first time he arrived in Nagorno Karabakh and joined the liberation war. In 1992, he headed a numerous detachment which had a great contribution to liberation of Shushi and which fought till the end of Karabakh war on the most vital segments of the front.
After the war, he left to Lebanon for two years, and then returned to take leading positions in Defense Army of Nagorno Karabakh. He demobilized in the position of commander of the sixth defense segment. Since 2000, he has been engaged in political activity in Armenia as an oppositionist. On December 10, 2006, he was arrested along with his companion-in-arms Vardan Malkhasyan on accusation of public calls to forced change of the Constitutional Order, and was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for illegal possession of weapon. In June 2008, after serving his term and being set free, he announced plans to continue his political struggle.