The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy this week condemned Azerbaijan’s pardoning of Ramil Safarov after his extradition from Hungary, where he was serving a life sentence—with no expression of either regret or remorse—for the murder of Armenian lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan.
As very few doubted, Safarov’s return to Baku was welcomed, as was his act of murder, by Ilham Aliyev’s government and regime. The Azerbaijani government reportedly had agreed to let Safarov serve his prison term in Azerbaijan. Yet, he was promptly promoted to the rank of major, received a free apartment, eight years of back pay, and a hero’s welcome for the cold-blooded murder of a sleeping Armenian.
“At least now, after the murderer is declared a national hero in Azerbaijan, the society in Hungary and other European countries must fully realize the reason why the Armenians in Mountainous Karabagh will never agree to be under Azerbaijani rule,” said Vahan Hovhannisyan, the vice-president of Euronest and a member of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly Bureau.
A lack of a forceful European response to this injustice would, in addition to compromising the Union’s values of human rights, rule of law, and democracy, undermine prospects for peace, regional cooperation, and rule of law. It would also embolden an increasingly heavily armed Azerbaijani government to continue to incite its own citizens toward violence, and continue its threats and acts of aggression against Armenia and Armenians worldwide.
Hungary’s extradition of Safarov should continue to be publicly criticized; Baku must explain Safarov’s release to the international community; and Safarov must immediately be returned to prison to serve out the remainder of his life sentence.
“The European Parliament has repeatedly condemned Azerbaijan’s human rights violations with resolutions and urgent resolutions,” said Kaspar Karampetian, the president of the European Armenian Federation. “Clearly this is a country whose government has no intentions of abiding by the rules of international law. We urge the European Union to consider values and laws before oil and gas deals, and to stop on the occasion of every single provocation of Azerbaijan making calls to both parties to exercise restraint. At last, there must be clear condemnation of Azerbaijan and its adventurous policies,” he said.