Armenian POWs on trial in Baku

Azerbaijan Hands 20-Year Jail Terms to Two More Armenian POWs

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BAKU (Combined Sources) — Armenian prisoners of war Lyudvig Mkrtchyan and Alyosha Khosrovyan were sentenced to 20 years in prison by Azerbaijan on Monday, August 2.

In a grave violation of the international humanitarian law, Azerbaijan prosecuted Mkrtchyan and Khosrovyan and accused them of allegedly “torturing Azerbaijanis during the First Karabakh War.”

According to a decision from the Baku military court, the two will spend the first 10 years in a prison, the rest in a maximum security correctional facility.

In July, an Azerbaijan court sentenced 39 Armenian prisoners of war to six years in prison, finding them guilty of “illegally crossing the border and weapons possession.”

Earlier in July, Azerbaijan sentenced 14 members of Armenia’s armed forces to various jail terms, while Viken Euljekjian, an Armenian captive and a citizen of Lebanon, was handed a 20-year jail term in mid-June.

Azerbaijan is refusing to return all Armenian prisoners of war, in violation of the statement on the cessation of hostilities signed by the parties in November 2020. The Armenian side has information about some 200 Armenians still in Azerbaijan’s captivity, but Azeri President Ilham Aliyev claims that persons being kept in Baku are not PoWs, but “terrorists and saboteurs”. At least 19 of the hundreds of Armenian captives have been tortured and killed, according to their lawyers.

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Former Minister of Justice Gevorg Danielyan urged the Armenian authorities to make active efforts to defend Armenian prisoners of war (POWs) facing trial in Azerbaijan, stating their repatriation is a matter of Armenia’s “international dignity.”

“The issue of prisoners of war does not only concern themselves or their loved ones, it has long ceased to be just a humanitarian issue, it is primarily a matter of our country’s international dignity, and also a very serious issue of responsibility in the future,” the lawyer wrote on Facebook on July 30.

Danielyan stated the Azerbaijanis will present the sham trials of POWs “to everyone as a fact of Armenia’s aggression, confirmed in court” in the near future.

“Even if there was no possibility of freezing all negotiations on the key condition of the return of prisoners of war, even if there was no possibility of involving Armenian lawyers in the sham trials of POWs, it was necessary (now, albeit late, but it is still possible) to hire foreign lawyers for these people to feel at least the slightest bit of protection and attention on the part of their state, so that these so-called sentences are appealed and well-substantiated complaints are lodged with the ECHR as soon as possible,” he said, deploring the “observer’s role” assumed by the authorities.

Danielyan warned against the division into groups of “whites” and “blacks” “former” and “current” in the country, underlining “time is running out.”

“Prisoners of war are not only a target of pity, it doesn’t even matter whether their parents are forgiving and treat what happened with understanding, they just need to be properly protected, which is possible,” the lawyer said.

(PanARMENIAN.Net and  Panorama.am contributed to this report.)

 

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