Extradition of Safarov fraught with unpredictable consequences: Statement of Armenian NGOs
On February 19, 2004 in Budapest, Hungary, where the courses were held in the framework of the NATO program "Partnership for Peace", there was a horrific event, which flatly denied the essence and meaning of the program. Late at night Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov penetrated into the room of classmates and brutally hacked sleeping Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan with beforehand purchased ax. This unprecedented crime disturbed not only Armenia and Hungary, but also the whole Europe.
The trial of Safarov lasted more than two years, during which the Azerbaijani side was trying to discredit the memory of the Armenian officer, pushing against him many accusations, and to achieve for criminal possible lenient sentence. During the trial have been convincingly refuted all the accusations against the deceased officer and proved their inadequacy and artificiality. Judge Andrash Vaskuti and the prosecution had perfectly conducted the whole process, strictly adhering to the wording and spirit of the Hungarian and European legislation. Ramil Safarov was sentenced to the maximum penalty: life imprisonment without a right filing a petition for a pardon during the first 30 years. All appeals from the Azerbaijani side were rejected.
Already in custody, Safarov had conducted an attack towards the prison security guard, which was the basis for initiating against him another criminal case and impose a second sentence.
Azerbaijani side from the first day has unsuccessfully tried to extradite Safarov. Representatives of state and public structures afforded statements justifying heinous crime. Thus, the Azerbaijani Ombudsman Suleymanova said that "Safarov should be an example for young people." Ramil Safarov was declared his country's national hero.
All the past 8 years, the Hungarian side has proven its commitment to the norms of international law, rejecting any possibility of extradition of criminal to his homeland. However, the Azerbaijani and Turkish parties persist in their efforts to extradite Safarov. Thus, the recent report proves the collection of signatures in Turkey, which require proponents to reconsider the sentence, implementing unreasonable and unacceptable historical parallels. Similar messages appear regularly also in the Azerbaijani media.
We believe it is our duty to address the Hungarian public and government agencies with an appeal to prevent the extradition of Safarov to Azerbaijan, where it is certainly not expected further punishment, but nothing more than freedom, honor and even greater glorification. As evidence, we present only one sentence: a year ago made by the head of the department of Political Analysis and Information Support of the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan Elnur Aslanov said that "valor of those like Ramil Safarov gave Azerbaijani society and people a second wind."
We have no doubts that in Hungary are perfectly aware of the fact that the hatred towards Armenians and xenophobia raised to the rank of state policy of Azerbaijan. This was recorded in the report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance for the year of 2011. We would like to remind that the President of Azerbaijan, in one of his recent speeches called Armenians as enemy number one for Azerbaijan. We also would like to remind that during the trial in Budapest the attorney of Safarov stated that "killing an Armenian is not a crime in Azerbaijan."
Having said all it is even hard to imagine the consequences that may result from extradition of Safarov to Azerbaijan. This is unacceptable in the first place given the gravity of his crime and the attitude towards that crime in Azerbaijan. But far more serious can be the consequences in the context of relapse of the crime over the world. For Azerbaijani youth, brought up to hate the Armenians and glorify the killer, extradition will be a call to action in the knowledge that the punishment will inevitably be soft, and the laurels of hero killer of Armenians on this background will become too attractive. In this case, the responsibility for the potential crimes certainly will lie not only on Azerbaijan, but also on Hungary. It should also be noted that the extradition against the frequent violations of the ceasefire with Azerbaijan could spark a renewal of bloody war.
We call upon the corresponding structures of friendly Hungary to think about the inevitable consequences of such a step. Only in the country of the crime, in the colony of strict regime Safarov must serve his sentence, imposed on him by Hungarian court. This requires not only the memory of Armenian young man brutally murdered, but the obligations of Hungary, as the country, which has proven its commitment to human rights norms, morality and humanity.
1. “Foundation Against Violation of Law” NGO
Mikayel Aramyan – President
2. Gyumri Development Fund
Artush Mkrtchyan – Chairperson
3. “Khoran Ard” Intelectual Centre NGO
Armen Petrosyan – Executive Director
4. “Our Home Armenia”
Nikolai Babajanyan – Chairperson, Member of Armenian-Russian Union of NGOs
5. “Improve Our Village” NGO
Anahit Tovmasyan – President
6. “Trtu” Cultural NGO
7. Association "For Sustainable Human Development"
Karine Danielyan – Chairperson
8. "Foundation for Small and Medium Businesses"
Gagik Poghosyan – President
9. “Association of Foreign Investment and Cooperation”
Andranik Aleksanyan – Board President