Armenian NGOs urge Hungary against extradition of Azeri assassin Safarov

Armenian NGOs urge Hungary against extradition of Azeri assassin Safarov

PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenian NGOs issued a statement on possible extradition of Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan’s assassin to Azerbaijan.

“A horrific event took place during trainings in the framework of Budapest-hosted “Partnership for Peace NATO program in 2004. Late at night Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov brutally hacked sleeping Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan with beforehand purchased ax. This unprecedented crime shocked not only Armenia and Hungary, but also all Europe.

Safarov’s trial lasted more than two years, with Azerbaijani side trying to discredit the memory of the Armenian officer through different accusations against him. All the accusations against the deceased officer were convincingly refuted during the trial. Judge Andrash Vaskuti and the prosecution had perfectly conducted the whole process, strictly adhering to the wording and spirit of the Hungarian and European legislation. Ramil Safarov was sentenced to life imprisonment with no right to file a petition for a pardon during the first 30 years. All appeals from the Azerbaijani side were rejected.

Already in custody, Safarov attacked the prison guard, for which he got second jail term.

Meanwhile, representatives of state and public institutions issued statements justifying heinous crime. Azerbaijani Ombudsman Suleymanova, for instance, said that "Safarov should serve an example for young people." Ramil Safarov was declared national hero of Azerbaijan.

For the past 8 years, the Hungarian side reaffirmed commitment to international law, rejecting any possibility of extradition of criminal to his homeland. However, the Azerbaijani and Turkish parties continue efforts to extradite Safarov. Thus, the recent report proves a signatures campaign was held in Turkey, urging the proponents to reconsider the sentence, implementing unreasonable and unacceptable historical parallels. Similar messages are also common in the Azerbaijani media.

We believe it is our duty to address the Hungarian public and government agencies with an appeal to prevent the extradition of Safarov to Azerbaijan, where he will be granted freedom, honor and even greater glorification. We present only one sentence to prove the point: a year ago head of the department of Political Analysis and Information Support of the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan Elnur Aslanov said that "Ramil Safarov’s valor gave Azerbaijani society and people a second wind."

We have no doubts that Hungary is well aware of the fact that the hatred for Armenians and xenophobia is pursued at state level in Azerbaijan. This was recorded in 2011 report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. Moreover, Azeri leader called Armenians number one enemy during one of his recent speeches. Safarov’s attorney stated at Budapest trial that "killing an Armenian is not a crime in Azerbaijan."

Safarov’s extradition to Azerbaijan unacceptable given the gravity of his crime and his country’s attitude towards that crime. The relapse of the crime may have even more serious consequences.

Extradition will mean a call to action to Azerbaijani youth. In this case, the responsibility for the potential crimes will lie not only on Azerbaijan, but also on Hungary. It’s noteworthy that the extradition against Azeri frequent violations could spark a renewal of bloody war.

We call upon the relevant institutions of friendly Hungary to consider the inevitable consequences of such a step. Only in the country of the crime, in the colony of strict regime Safarov must serve his sentence, imposed on him by Hungarian court. This requires obligations of Hungary, as the country, which has proven its commitment to human rights norms, morality and humanity,” the statement reads.

Gurgen Margaryan

On February 19, 2004, Lieutenant of the Armenian Armed Forces Gurgen Margaryan, 26, was hacked to death, while asleep, by a fellow Azerbaijani participant, lieutenant Ramil Safarov, in Budapest during a three-month English language course in the framework of Partnership for Peace NATO-sponsored program. In accordance with Budapest District Court sentence dated April 13, 2006, Ramil Safarov was life imprisoned for murdering the Armenian officer.

On February 22, 2007, Budapest Court rejected the Azerbaijani military officer's appeal against a life sentence. The appeal court ruled that the decision brought by Budapest District Court against 30-year-old Lieutenant Ramil Safarov, should stand.

On August 31, 2012, Hungary extradited Safarov back to Azerbaijan, where he was promptly pardoned by President Ilham Aliyev.

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