Rashid Beglaryan (Lurer photo)

Two Artsakh Citizens Still in Azerbaijan after Kidnapping by Authorities

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YEREVAN (Combined Sources) — The representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Sunday, August 6, visited Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) resident Vagif Khachatryan, 68, who was abducted by Azerbaijan. Khachatryan’s daughter, Vera Khachatryan said.

“We are fighting as much as possible to be able bring my father back. They said he is taking medicine as if for treatment. But his illness is not a curable illness, but surgical. They transmitted a message from the Red Cross, which reads: ‘I’m fine, I’m thinking about you, stay safe, I’ll come,” said Vera Khachatryan.

On July 29, the representatives of the border guard service of Azerbaijan abducted 68-year-old Artsakh resident Vagif Khachatryan, who was being transferred from Artsakh to Armenia by way of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to undergo surgery, from the Azerbaijani “checkpoint” illegally located in the Berdzor (Lachin) corridor.

The General Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan had announced that Vagif Khachatryan was “indicted” back in 2013, a decision was made to arrest him, and that “an international search was announced” in the same year. Baku accuses the detained Artsakh citizen of “genocide, deportation of Azerbaijanis.”

Demonstrations demanding the release of Vagif Khachatryan have been taking place in Armenia for several days now.

Sadly, he is not the only Artsakh resident kidnapped by Azerbaijan; Rashid Beglaryan, has been similarly taken.

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Representatives of the ICRC haven’t yet been able to visit him, ICRC Armenia communications manager Zara Amatuni said.

Amatuni added that they are following the case and are taking relevant steps through dialogue within the framework of the ICRC powers to ensure certain progress in this issue.

The Nagorno-Karabakh authorities had initially announced that Rashid Beglaryan, a resident of Nagorno-Karabakh, accidentally crossed into Azerbaijani-held territory while intoxicated and was subsequently arrested on August 1. However, the Nagorno-Karabakh prosecutor’s office later said that Beglaryan was actually kidnapped by Azerbaijani servicemembers while walking towards Armenia.

Vagif Khachatryan

On August 2, prominent Armenian attorney Siranush Sahakyan ruled out due process in Azerbaijan regarding Vagif Khachatryan. She said that the kidnapping of Vagif Khachatryan by Azerbaijan constitutes extraordinary rendition in terms of international law.

The Nagorno-Karabakh resident’s kidnapping has been condemned by the Armenian foreign ministry as a war crime.

Vagif Khachatryan’s daughter revealed earlier this week that the Azeri border guards threatened the ICRC staff with force at the illegal checkpoint in Lachin Corridor. She denied the charges against her father and asked for international support to achieve his release.

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova at a press conference said the actions by Azerbaijan further complicate the process of finding solutions.

“What happened, of course, complicates the process of finding difficult but necessary conclusions, compromises and solutions. Of course, this exacerbates the situation. Secondly, we saw diametrically opposite assessments of the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides. Thirdly, regardless of this particular incident or other similar incidents, we rely on the importance of reconciliation both in the context of the normalization of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations and in the context of ensuring the rights and security of the people of Karabakh,” said Zakharova.

The spokesperson also emphasized the importance of the immediate opening of Lachin corridor.

“We are working with the parties and once again reaffirm the need to immediately unblock the Lachin corridor and ensure normal conditions for the life of the local population,” added Zakharova.

(Stories from Armenpress and news.am were used to compile this report.)

 

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