Azerbaijani Forces Kill Another Karabakh Civilian

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STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL) — Azerbaijani forces shot and killed another ethnic Armenian resident of Nagorno-Karabakh on Friday, December 3.

Karabakh’s National Security Service (NSS) said the 65-year-old Seyran Sargsyan was captured in the no-man’s-land outside the town of Chartar before being murdered at a nearby Azerbaijani army post.

An NSS statement said the “criminal actions” of Azerbaijani troops were caught on camera from the Armenian side of the current “line of contact” in and around Karabakh.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed, meanwhile, that an “individual of Armenian origin” attacked an Azerbaijani soldier in an attempt to steal his weapon. It said the soldier acted in self-defense and shot the man.

Authorities in Stepanakert dismissed the claim, saying the Azerbaijani military is trying to justify its “barbaric terrorist act.”

Armenia also strongly condemned the “deliberate” killing. The Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Vahan Hunanyan, said Azerbaijani attacks on Karabakh civilians are becoming “systematic” and show that “it is impossible to guarantee the physical security of Artsakh’s Armenians under Azerbaijani control or jurisdiction.”

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Both sides said they notified Russian peacekeeping forces stationed in Karabakh about the incident.

Sargsyan is the third Karabakh civilian shot dead by Azerbaijani forces in less than two months.

The previous incident occurred on November 8 when four Karabakh Armenian utility workers repaired a water pipe outside the Azerbaijani-controlled town of Shushi (Shusha). One of them was gunned down while the three others wounded as a result. Baku did not deny that the civilians were shot by an Azerbaijani serviceman but blamed the Armenian side for the shooting condemned by the US State Department.

Public Radio of Armenia reported later that the Artsakh Prosecutor General’s Office released the name of the actual killer, Rahimzade David Gabil oglu, a private in the Azerbaijani armed forces.

Under the agreement reached between the Prosecutors Generals of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan, the Prosecutor General of the Russian peacekeeping contingent visited the scene, listened to the witnesses of the Azerbaijani side, the person who committed the murder, and investigated the alleged scene of the murder cited by the Azerbaijanis.

Peacekeepers are currently negotiating to organize the handover of Seyran Sargsyan’s body to the Armenian side.

 

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