BRUSSELS—The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy condemns Azerbaijan’s pardoning of Ramil Safarov, a lieutenant in the Azerbaijani army, who was recently extradited from Hungary, convicted for murder and serving a life sentence – with no expression of either regret or remorse – for the murder, beheading, of Armenian lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan, in his sleep, during a NATO Partnership for Peace program, in Budapest, in 2004.
As very few doubted, Safarov’s return to Baku was welcomed, as was his act of murder, by Ilham Aliyev’s government and regime. The Azerbaijani government apparently had committed to Hungary that they would continue his prison term; but the Azeri Lieutenant – not surprisingly – was promoted to the rank of Major, received a free apartment, eight years of back pay, and a hero’s welcome for the cold-blooded murder of a sleeping Armenian.
The facts of this cold blooded murder on EU soil, while on training with NATO, are clear indications to all those concerned, and especially the OSCE Minsk Group, who mediate for the Nagorno Karabakh conflict’s peaceful solution, in Mr. Vahan Hovhannesyan’s words – Member of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly Bureau, Vice-President of the Euronest PA - “at least now, after the mean murderer is declared a national hero in Azerbaijan, the society in Hungary and other European countries must fully realize the reason why the Armenians in the Mountainous Karabakh will never agree to be under Azerbaijani rule.”
Hungary’s extradition of Safarov must be publicly criticized and openly condemned and demand from Baku explanations for pardoning and releasing him. Safarov must immediately return to prison for the remainder of his life sentence. A lack of a forceful European response to this injustice would, in addition to compromising the Union’s values of Human Rights, Rule of Law and Democracy, undermine the prospects for peace, regional cooperation and rule of law – and embolden an increasingly heavily armed Azerbaijani government to continue inciting its own citizens to violence, and encouraging it to continue its threats and actual acts of aggression against Armenia and Armenians all over the globe.
Kaspar Karampetian, President of the European Armenian Federation said: “the European Parliament has repeatedly condemned Azerbaijan’s Human Rights violations with resolutions and urgent resolutions. Clearly this is a country the government of which has no intentions of abiding by the rules of International Law. We urge to the European Union to consider values and laws before oil and gas deals, and stop on the occasion of every single provocation of Azerbaijan making calls to both parties to exercise restraint. At last, they must be clear and condemn Azerbaijan and their adventurous policies.”