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Jirair Sefilian (born 10 July 1967) was an Armenian Revolutionary Federation and Armenian Armed Forces commander during the Lebanese Civil War and the Nagorno-Karabakh War. Sefilian was an Armenian nationalist, fighting to protect Armenians in the city of Beirut, Lebanon in the 1980s before joining the fray in the Nagorno-Karabakh region against Azerbaijan. After the war, he campaigned for regime change and the rejection of any territorial concessions to the Azeris.

Biography

Jirair Sefilian was born on 10 July 1967 in Beirut, Lebanon to a family of Christian Armenians, and he took part in the defense of the Bourj Hammoud neighborhood of Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War. In 1990, he moved to Armenia with his family after fighting alongside the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. Sefilian served as a military instructor for Armenian soldiers during the Nagorno-Karabakh War against Azerbaijan, and in 1992 the ARF chose him to lead the Shushi company, an elite formation of Armenian troops. Following the war, he became a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Armenian Armed Forces, and Sefilian was popular among Armenian nationalists for his views on conquering all ethnic Armenian lands in Azerbaijan and bringing a new regime to power in Armenia. On 6 August 2007, he was arrested for his anti-constitutional statements, and he was sentenced to eighteen months in prison. Sefilian sought citizenship in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic when Armenia threatened to deport him, having stripped him of his citizenship. On 8 April 2015, he was arrested for seeking to launch anti-government protests, and on 20 June 2016 he was arrested for plotting to take control of government buildings. On 17 July 2016, some Armenian nationalists stormed a police headquarters in Yerevan and demanded his release, but they were forced to surrender on 31 July 2016.

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