ICRC rep­re­sen­ta­tives visit Azer­bai­jani hostages

Azer News - - Karabakh Conflict - By Rashid Shiri­nov

Dur­ing the visit, the ICRC rep­re­sen­ta­tives mon­i­tored the con­di­tions of the hostages’ de­ten­tion and treat­ment.

As­garov and Guliyev have been kept hostage by Ar­me­nian mil­i­taries in the oc­cu­pied Nagorno-Karabakh re­gion of Azer­bai­jan for more than four years al­ready. They were de­tained by the Ar­me­nian armed forces in July 2014 while vis­it­ing their na­tive places and graves of loved ones in the oc­cu­pied Azer­bai­jani Kal­ba­jar re­gion. More­over, Ar­me­nian armed forces killed the third Azer­bai­jani Hasan Hasanov.

Later, Guliyev and As­garov were judged il­le­gally by the un­rec­og­nized courts of the sep­a­ratist regime in the oc­cu­pied Nagorno-Karabakh. Fol­low­ing an ex­pe­dited “ju­di­cial process” in De­cem­ber 2015, As­garov was sen­tenced to life im­pris­on­ment and Guliyev – to 22 years in prison.

Azer­bai­jan’s State Com­mit­tee on Af­fairs of Refugees and IDPs, the State Com­mis­sion on Pris­on­ers of War, Hostages and Miss­ing Per­sons and other agen­cies have re­peat­edly urged in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing the ICRC, to as­sist in re­lease of Guliyev and As­garov, whilst the prob­lem re­mains topi­cal yet.

In June 2018, Chair­man of the Azer­bai­jan Bar As­so­ci­a­tion Anar Ba­girov in­formed that doc­u­ments and videos on tor­tures against As­garov and Guliyev were sub­mit­ted to the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights.

Thou­sands of Azer­bai­ja­nis went miss­ing and were taken hostages by the Ar­me­nian side as a re­sult of the Ar­me­nia-Azer­bai­jan NagornoKarabakh con­flict. Azer­bai­jan State Com­mis­sion on Pris­on­ers of War, Hostages and Miss­ing Per­sons has so far reg­is­tered 3,875 miss­ing per­sons, of whom 3,610 are males and 265 are fe­males. In ad­di­tion, the State Com­mis­sion has in­for­ma­tion that 871 peo­ple were cap­tured by the Ar­me­nian side.

He noted that af­ter com­ing to power, the new govern­ment of Ar­me­nia be­gan to pur­sue the “time­out” pol­icy in the ne­go­ti­a­tion process, which was the max­i­mum de­lay of meet­ings and ne­go­ti­a­tions in the for­mat of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.

“But it seems that it failed: the co-chairs paid a visit to Ar­me­nia, and then there was a meet­ing of for­eign min­is­ters in Brus­sels,” Shah­nazaryan said.

He added that if we pay at­ten­tion to the state­ment of the cochairs af­ter the Brus­sels meet­ing, we can see that there is the word­ing “sub­stan­tive talks,” which was a de­mand of Azer­bai­jan for a long time, and which Baku has re­peat­edly stated.

“In this re­gard, dur­ing this time Azer­bai­jan has made se­ri­ous progress on the agenda of the ne­go­ti­a­tion process for the set­tle­ment of the Nagorno-Karabakh con­flict, and this is the most im­por­tant point. This, in fact, means the main, sub­stan­tive ne­go­ti­a­tions purely on the con­flict set­tle­ment, which means purely the re­turn of ter­ri­to­ries for Baku,” Shah­nazaryan noted.

The for­mer am­bas­sador fur­ther added that Azer­bai­jan is pur­su­ing a very ac­tive for­eign pol­icy, di­ver­si­fies its po­lit­i­cal-mil­i­tary and diplo­matic sphere and has re­cently ex­panded the space for its co­op­er­a­tion with Rus­sia.

Ar­me­nia broke out a lengthy war against Azer­bai­jan by lay­ing ter­ri­to­rial claims on the coun­try. Since a war in the early 1990s, Ar­me­nian armed forces have oc­cu­pied 20 per­cent of Azer­bai­jan's ter­ri­tory, in­clud­ing NagornoKarabakh and seven sur­round­ing re­gions. More than 20,000 Azer­bai­ja­nis were killed and over 1 mil­lion were dis­placed as a re­sult of the large-scale hos­til­i­ties.

To this day, Ar­me­nia has not im­ple­mented four UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions on with­drawal of its armed forces from the NagornoKarabakh and sur­round­ing re­gions.

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