By Irina Hovannisian
BAKU (RFE/RL) — An Armenian man detained in Azerbaijan in disputed circumstances last month has been found dead in his prison cell, military authorities said this week.
In a joint statement reported by local media, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry and the office of the military prosecutor claimed that Manvel Saribekian, 20, hanged himself early in the morning. The statement said forensic experts found no traces of violence on his body.
A senior Armenian official asserted, however, that Saribekian was either beaten to death or “driven into suicide.” “Whatever happened, they would have claimed that he committed suicide,” said Armen Kaprielian, head of a government commission on Armenian prisoners of war, civilian captives and missing persons.
“In any case, we are talking about a crime, a brutal one,” Kaprielian said. “We will do everything to have Azerbaijani officials and bodies guilty of what happened brought to account.”
The Armenian ministries of defense and foreign affairs refrained from immediately commenting on the extraordinary death.