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Moscow Criticizes Baku For Releasing Killer Of Armenian

Former Azerbaijani army officer Ramil Safarov
Russia's Foreign Ministry has criticized Azerbaijan and Hungary over the release of an Azerbaijani army officer who had been sentenced to life in prison for killing an Armenian military officer.

A statement published on the ministry's website on September 3 says the release of Ramil Safarov contravenes international efforts aimed at easing Armenian-Azerbaijani tensions.

Safarov was sentenced in 2006 by the Budapest City Court after he confessed to murdering Armenian officer Gurgen Markarian while both were in Hungary for a 2004 language course organized by NATO.

On August 31, Hungary returned Safarov to Azerbaijan after receiving assurances from Baku that his sentence would be enforced.

But Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev pardoned Safarov upon on his arrival in Baku. Armenia has formally protested Safarov's release and has suspended diplomatic ties with Hungary.

Based on reporting by and Interfax