Thursday, August 21, 2014


Armenia

As Armenia Protests Killer's Pardon, Azerbaijan Promotes Him

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian announces the suspension of diplomatic relations with Hungary in Yerevan on August 31, within hours of news of the Azerbaijani pardon.
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian announces the suspension of diplomatic relations with Hungary in Yerevan on August 31, within hours of news of the Azerbaijani pardon.
By RFE/RL's Armenian Service and RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service
A storm of protest threatened to set back relations in the fragile Transcaucasus and beyond after Azerbaijan promoted an ax murderer whose pardon after repatriation a day earlier provoked howls of international outrage, particularly in neighboring Armenia, in whose military the victim served.

Armenian officials had already cut ties with Hungary, where Azerbaijani national and confessed killer Ramil Safarov had been serving a life sentence before his August 31 handover to authorities in Baku.

Yerevan also vowed to protest the presidential pardon in a letter to the states that co-chair the OSCE Minsk Group, which has been working for years to settle a frozen Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict.

Safarov had claimed in his defense that the victim, Armenian officer Gurgen Margarian, had urinated on an Azerbaijani flag and otherwise "insulted" that country.

With tempers still raging over the presidential pardon, Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Adiev on September 1 promoted Safarov from the military rank of lieutenant to major. The Defense Ministry also awarded Safarov over eight years in back pay in addition to giving him a free apartment.

Adiev went on to wish Safarov future success in his military career.

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian had already expressed outrage and announced a suspension of all "diplomatic relations and all official contacts" with Budapest over Hungary's decision to return Safarov to Azerbaijan.

In a statement on September 2, Sarkisian also said his country is prepared to "fight and win" any war waged by Azerbaijan. He said Armenia does not want war but did not exclude that Baku would "impose" such a conflict.

Safarov's pardon, by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, also prompted questions by the United States.

Safarov was sentenced to life in prison in a 2006 trial for hacking the sleeping Armenian military officer to death at a NATO Partnership for Peace training mission in Hungary in 2004.

Aliyev offered no public explanation for the release, saying merely that Safarov was "released from serving his life sentence."

"I don't want to look back to that day," Safarov said in response to a question from RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service after his return to Baku.

Minsk Group In The Middle

Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a bloody war in the 1990s over the ethnic Armenian territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, with a shaky cease-fire the only guarantee of peace since 1994.

The OSCE Minsk Group -- which is co-chaired by France, Russia, and the United States -- has mediated stubbornly unsuccessful peace talks ever since.

Azerbaijan's head of state quickly pardoned Safarov after the surprise handover by Hungary, which Budapest says was based on the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.

WATCH (in Azerbaijani): Ramil Safarov is greeted by family and well-wishers on his arrival in Baku after the Hungarian handover (Video by RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service):

Ramil Safarov Welcomed In Baku (in Azerbaijani)i
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August 31, 2012
Family and well-wishers greeted confessed ax murderer and Azerbaijani military officer Ramil Safarov on his return to Baku on August 31 after Hungary handed him over despite a life sentence for the 2004 killing.

Hungarian authorities have said they were given assurances by Baku that Safarov would serve out his sentence in his homeland.

"This [did] not happen suddenly," Vilayet Guliyev, Azerbaijani ambassador to Hungary, told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service. "We had been working on this for many months. The extradition process from beginning to end was done by order of the Azerbaijani president and implemented by the embassy."

'Assurance' From Budapest

Hundreds of people protested outside the Hungarian consulate in Yerevan early on September 1, burning the Hungarian flag and throwing eggs, tomatoes, and coins.

Armenian President Sarkisian had said after an emergency meeting of his National Security Council on August 31 that Hungary made a "grave mistake." He said officials within Hungary's Foreign Ministry and parliament had offered assurances over a possible handover “during contacts in recent days.”

Sarkisian said that, instead, the release has sent a message of acceptance for "a murder committed on the basis of religious or ethnic hatred" that his country "cannot tolerate."

“The government of Hungary, at different levels, including the highest, has consistently and up until the last moment assured the government of Armenia that it will not take any steps whatsoever, which would result in the termination of serving justice by the perpetrator of a heinous murder and explicitly excluded any option for the execution of the transfer,” the Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Azerbaijani military officer and confessed killer Ramil Safarov after his return to Baku on August 31.
Azerbaijani military officer and confessed killer Ramil Safarov after his return to Baku on August 31.

Armenia and Hungary, which is a member of the European Union and of NATO, do not have embassies in each other's capitals.

Hungary has nationalism issues of its own, with Viktor Orban's right-wing Fidesz government accused by political opponents recently of tolerating ethnically and nationalistically loaded remarks to avoid alienating the far right.

Washington Seeks Answers

U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has demanded an explanation from Hungary and expressed "deep concern" at the development, which it suggests could complicate efforts to maintain stability and security in the region.

“President [Barack] Obama is deeply concerned by today’s announcement that the President of Azerbaijan has pardoned Ramil Safarov following his return from Hungary,” Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, said in a statement.

“We are communicating to Azerbaijani authorities our disappointment about the decision to pardon Safarov,” Vietor said. “This action is contrary to ongoing efforts to reduce regional tensions and promote reconciliation.”

“The United States is also requesting an explanation from Hungary regarding its decision to transfer Safarov to Azerbaijan,” he added.


Written by Andy Heil based on reporting by RFE/RL's Armenian and Azerbaijani services; with additional reporting by AFP
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by: J from: US
September 02, 2012 00:33
I wonder how much money Magyars took for this stunt.
In Response

by: J from: US
September 03, 2012 19:14
Safarov was sent back to Baku just a week after a Hungarian business newspaper reported that Azerbaijan could lend Hungary up to 3 billion euros by buying a specially-issued sovereign bond denominated in Turkish lira.


by: Muslim from: World
September 02, 2012 03:41
This is all a show, Armenians and the West allowed Ilham Aliyev to score some domestic points to keep his regime in power. As Mubarak was the best line of defense for Israel, the Aliyev family are the best line of defense for Armenians and reasonable Armenians know this very well.

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
September 02, 2012 06:21
All of this just shows the fragmentation of the Caucasus and the impossibility of making compromises in the Caucasus..
All this of course on hand to Putin, who plays on this..

I would like to remind something:

20 years ago, hundreds of аrmenians from the battalion named Baghramyan with apsu bandits took part in the brutal killing of civilian population of Abkhazia ..they burned people alive, cut them with axes, beheaded..with аpsu, armenians committed crimes- in their cruelty surpass Nazi crimes..no one has been punished for it!!

All those who demand justice against аzerbaijani why are you silent about those who killed thousands of women and children?
So I can not take this indignation of the аrmenians.
Then ask for justice for all, not for one....

In Response

by: Eugene from: Armenia
September 02, 2012 11:03
Vakhtang, after all Geargia takes full responsibility for all burden happened in Georgia. These abkhazians, armenians , kartvels where citizens of Georgia, so if Georgian's citizens did something wrong toward each other - it is Georgia who guilty. If you still prefer separate them, then it is better to be separated as it is now.
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
September 02, 2012 22:23
Vah vah vah Vahtang you got your numbers wrong-armenians killed millions of georgians and ate the remaining billions alive ,that`s why they deserve all this and more.Maybe Aakashviladze will make the azeri guy a general in the georgian army too and then you must become his personal toilet attendant.Vahtang djan,georgians like you and azeri kurds like Ali Baba Ilham have one problem in common-no one wants to live under their mis-rule as both are schizophrenic ego-maniacs.You should have helped your granny selling her socks by the grand central station in Moscow,rather than writing crap on I-net.

by: Grigor from: to Hungarian people
September 02, 2012 07:13
The whole act should not be directed against Hungarian people. The magnitude of hatred around the story is huge and it hurts. However, seeing flag of Hungary being burned publicly is not at all the way Armenian people should express their disappointment, frustration and outrage.

The whole thing is very twisted and sarcastic now- values that Europe and the world speaks of, value of democracy, justice, all ridiculous human rights conventions are merely tools to chase interests of the powerful. There is one right and this is the right of power. I am very sad to think and feel like this, but unfortunately there are no proofs to persuade me back. There is universal ethics, morale etc, however, instinct of self defense is stronger.

by: Jack from: US
September 02, 2012 13:51
as Hungary is a NATO minion, it won't do anything without US government approval

by: TheHunter from: UK
September 03, 2012 10:18
Hungary is guided by international law and did nothing wrong!

Azerbaijan is a country of peace loving and friendly people while Armenians are liars and ungrateful beggars living at the expense of other cultures and exploiting them by spreading Mythical Genocide to expand the so called Mythical Armenia. For your information, Armenians are not Caucasians and they have just arrived in Georgia, Transcaucasia as refugees after WW1, then these shameless ungrateful stateless Armenians were being established by Russians at the expense of Azerbaijan Republic for future troubles to claim more territories from Georgia and Azerbaijan.

During WW2, it was actually an Armenian (another ungrateful refugee in Hungary, like "French" Sarkozy) as head of state who had murdered millions of Jews putting a shame on Hungary!

Thanks for attention and understanding

by: Avetis from: Armenia
September 03, 2012 15:34
What happened in Hungary was typical Western/NATO style provocation followed up by typical Turkic behavior. Armenia reserves the right to have the rabid animal in question killed. I hope Russia's special services can provide Yerevan with some assistance with that regard.

Nevertheless, this was a great opportunity to again show our Hollywood-struck peasantry and Democracy Now(!) idiots in Armenia and in the diaspora the true face of not only Turkic peoples but that of the political West as well. Don't fool yourselves into thinking this is an isolated incident involving only Hungary. The British did something very similar with the Lockerbie bomber couple of years ago.

The point being here is that Western leaders are of the type that would sell their mothers and daughters into prostitution to make a quick profit. The Western world today is totally devoid of compassion, morality, cultural creativity, patriotism, family and God. Western Globalism has turned westerners into animals only concerned about self-gratification.

Western-leaning idiots in Yerevan need to come to the realization that Armenia's future lies with Russia and only Russia. Closer and deeper cooperation with the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran is Armenia's only way forward in the Caucasus. Anyone that does not agree with this is either an agent of the West or an idiot.

After all this, Yerevan needs to -

Officially recognize Arthakh's independence or fully annex the territory.

Start negotiations with Russian officials to join the Eurasian Union.

Shut down any "news" organization or NGO in Armenia that is not homegrown and/or operating with funds being brought from European or American sources.

Stop using English as the second language in the republic (Armenian youth would be better off learning Russian, German, French... and why not Persian, Chinese and Hindi).

Cut ties with NATO (what is it good for?).

Cut ties with Globalist institutions such as the IMF and USAID (they pose an immense danger to the healthy and well being of developing nations).

Finally, cut ties with Washington (has been and will always be an anti-Armenian vipers nest).

by: Rzyan from: Moscow
September 06, 2012 08:06
This case has really been epicly exaggerated! I remember in 2001, Yerevan granted an immediate pardon to Varoujan Garabedian, a Syrian-born militant who killed eight people in a 1983 bomb attack in a French airport. Garabedian was returned to Armenia after serving 17 years of a life sentence in France, and received his pardon while still in Yerevan's airport. But nobody condemned this?
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