Local silent protest demands freedom for hundreds of Armenian POWs

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Dozens of local activists dedicated their Sunday evening to demand the urgent release of more than 200 Armenian POWs held captive by Azerbaijan since the end of the 2020 Artsakh War.

“We stand united in saying, ‘Enough is enough,’” stressed Lisa Gulesserian, PhD of the Zoravik Activist Collective while reading a prepared statement by the Free Armenian POWs Global Network.

The local silent protest, co-organized by Zoravik, was held at Winthrop Park in Harvard Square. Many of the participants were dressed in all black, holding signs that read “Free Armenian POWs” with a QR code for inquiring passersby to access more information.  

Despite Azerbaijan’s claims to the contrary, human rights advocates, including the Armenian Legal Center for Justice and Human Rights (ALC), contend that the government of Azerbaijan continues to defy Geneva Conventions in holding hundreds of innocent civilians and war prisoners hostage following the signing of the November 9 trilateral ceasefire agreement. Only three POWs (including one civilian) have been released; the ALC reports that 19 were killed in captivity under torturous circumstances.   

Organizers on Sunday also addressed the latest developments from the Republic of Armenia, where hundreds of Azeri forces remain illegally stationed in the provinces of Syunik and Gegharkunik for almost two weeks—jeopardizing Armenia’s sovereignty. “With each day that passes, with Azerbaijan continuing its aggressive behavior without consequence, dictatorships around the world are given a clear message: war crimes and breaches of international law can go unpunished,” said Dr. Gulesserian, underscoring Azerbaijan’s threats to global peace and security. 

Over 25 cities around the world participated in the Free Armenian POWs Global Network initiative. The Armenian Assembly of America-Massachusetts, Armenian Renaissance-Boston and AGBU Young Professionals of Boston helped co-sponsor Sunday’s event in Cambridge.

Leeza Arakelian

Leeza Arakelian

Assistant Editor
Leeza Arakelian is the assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly. She is a graduate of UCLA and Emerson College. Leeza has written and produced for local and network television news including Boston 25 and Al Jazeera America.

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