STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL, Public Radio of Armenia) — On August 28 President of the Artsakh Republic Arayik Harutyunyan called an emergency meeting of the Security Council upon the arrest of three citizens. The three young men, Alen Sargsyan, Vahe Hovsepyan and Levon Grigoryan, were detained by Azerbaijani security forces on while traveling to Armenia through the Lachin corridor.
Artak Beglaryan, an advisor to the Artsakh government and a former premier, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that the Russian peacekeepers are negotiating with the Azerbaijani side to try to have them freed. Arayik Harutyunyan, the Karabakh president, held an emergency session of his security council later in the day.
“Azerbaijan is continuing its genocidal policy towards the people of Artsakh, once again violating international humanitarian law,” read a Karabakh statement issued shortly after the detentions.
The Azerbaijani authorities did not immediately comment on the arrests. But media outlets linked to them reported that the three Karabakh Armenians are suspected of being members of a Karabakh football team that had “disrespected” the Azerbaijani national flag in a 2021 video posted on social media.
Beglaryan said he “cannot confirm” that Sargsyan, Hovsepyan and Grigoryan played for that youth team based in the Karabakh town of Martuni. “All three of them are students of Armenian universities,” he said.
In any case, added Beglaryan, the Azerbaijani allegations are “absurd” and aimed at intimidating Karabakh’s Armenian population opposed to the restoration of Azerbaijani control over their region.