The detained Karabakh leaders, including former Artsakh Foreign Minister Ruben Vardanyan, center. (Trend photo)

Vardanyan Family Call for Release of Vardanyan and 22 Other Armenian Prisoner Unconditional Release

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YEREVAN — On May 17, the family of Ruben Vardanyan, the former state minister of the Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) Republic, issued a statement decrying the Azerbaijani government’s extension of the pre-trial detention of Vardanyan and his fellow political leaders for a further five months.

The Armenian leaders have been under arrest since September 27, 2023.

The family said in a statement, “For eight months, the Azerbaijani authorities have flouted international law and human decency by keeping Ruben incarcerated without trial and without any proper process. They still refuse to say when any proper trial or hearing will take place on their so called charges. This decision to extend his detention by another five months without any due process is another gross violation of his basic human rights. While the international pressure on Azerbaijan continues to grow through the European Parliament resolution, US congress sanction bill and the French Senate resolution, we, the Vardanyan family, call on representatives of the international community — government, business and civil society — to demand for Ruben’s unconditional release and the 22 other Armenian prisoners if Azerbaijan is to maintain the privilege to host COP29, which Azerbaijan has proclaimed to be the ‘COP of peace.’

“The repeated extensions of pre-trial detention without an individualized and specific determination to justify the denial of bail is another flagrant violation of Ruben’s rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a treaty to which Azerbaijan is a state party. The only explanation for the extended delays is this case is political and that Azerbaijan doesn’t have any actual evidence against Ruben to put him on trial. Therefore, he should be immediately and unconditionally released,” said Jared Genser, the Vardanyan family’s international legal counsel.

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