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Press briefing notes Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Press briefing note on Azerbaijan

07 September 2012

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
Location: Geneva
Date: 7 September 2012
Subject: Azerbaijan

We are seriously concerned about the case of Ramil Safarov, an Azerbaijani military officer who was sentenced to life in prison in Hungary for the brutal 2004 murder of an Armenian officer, Gurgen Markaryan, who was taking part in the same NATO training programme in Hungary. The murder was clearly ethnically motivated.

The concerns relate to the fact that, around a week ago, Safarov was extradited from Hungary to Azerbaijan, where instead of serving out the rest of his sentence, he was pardoned by the President, publicly praised, and promoted by the Defence Ministry. This has resulted in an international furore.

International standards regarding accountability for serious crimes should be upheld. Ethnically motivated hate crimes of this gravity should be deplored and properly punished – not publicly glorified by leaders and politicians.

We are also in full agreement with the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group who earlier this week expressed deep concern about “the damage the pardon and any attempts to glorify the crime have done to the [Nagorno-Karabakh] peace process and trust between the two sides.”

ENDS

UN Human Rights Country Page – Azerbaijan: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/AZIndex.aspx

For more information or media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / [email protected]) or Ravina Shamdasani (+ 41 22 917 9310 / [email protected])

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