Obama ‘deeply concerned’ over Azeri assassin release

Obama ‘deeply concerned’ over Azeri assassin release

PanARMENIAN.Net - U.S. National Security Council (NSC) Spokesman Tommy Vietor commented on Azerbaijan’s Decision to Pardon Ramil Safarov.

“President Barack Obama is deeply concerned by announcement that the President of Azerbaijan has pardoned Ramil Safarov following his return from Hungary. Safarov confessed to the murder of Armenian Army officer Gurgen Margaryan in Budapest in 2004, and was serving a life sentence in Hungary for this brutal crime. We are communicating to Azerbaijani authorities our disappointment about the decision to pardon Safarov. 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.”

Ramil Safarov, the Azerbaijani army officer who was serving a life sentence in Hungary for axing to death Armenian Lt. Gurgen Margaryan, was extradited to Azerbaijan and pardoned by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Official Yerevan reacted by suspending diplomatic ties with Hungary.

The Department of State, through a formal announcement issued by Acting Deputy Spokesman Patrick Ventrell, also took a stand against Hungary’s extradition and Azerbaijan’s pardon, explaining that: “The United States is extremely troubled by the news that the President of Azerbaijan pardoned Azerbaijani army officer Ramil Safarov, who returned to Baku today following his transfer from Hungary. . . . We are expressing our deep concern to Azerbaijan regarding this action and seeking an explanation. We are also seeking further details from Hungary regarding the decision to transfer Mr. Safarov to Azerbaijan.”

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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