Statement by Armenian Commission on Captives, Hostages and Missing Persons

28 Fabruary, 2019
The Interdepartmental Commission on Captives, Hostages and Missing Persons of the Republic of Armenia strongly condemns the Azerbaijani government’s attempts of presenting Armenian citizen Karen Ghazaryan, who found himself under Azerbaijani jurisdiction in June 2018, as an infiltrator, and the subsequent criminal prosecution based on a fabricated allegation that resulted in a 20-years imprisonment sentence by an Azerbaijani court on 27 February.

The attempts of presenting Berdavan village, Tavush province resident Karen Ghazaryan, who has no relation to military service and who, due to his health issues, is registered at a special medical institution since 2013, as a member of an Armenian intelligence-diversion group, was apparently aimed at creating false grounds to prosecute and subsequently sentence him to a long-time imprisonment simply on the basis of his nationality. The criminal persecution against Karen Ghazaryan is yet another example of a blatant violation of human rights by the Azerbaijani government, fully consistent with the logic of lies and frauds policies adopted by the government of that country. The criminal prosecution of Karen Ghazaryan, conducted without any valid evidence or using apparent fabricated evidence, and his subsequent conviction, attest to apparent violation of several components of the right to a fair trial guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights. At the same time, this situation also demonstrates that his unfounded prosecution was based on Karen Ghazaryan’s nationality, which indicates that the discrimination ban. Such blatant human rights violations are serious challenges to the whole civilized community to take all possible actions to protect Karen Ghazaryan's rights, who has found himself under the Azerbaijani jurisdiction. The inhumane treatment and the fates of the Armenians who had found themselves in Azerbaijan in the past, call for a stronger attention to the protection of Karen Ghazaryan’s elementary rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and other international treaties. In this regard, we expect the active involvement of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, other universal bodies of international human rights law, as well as of the ICRC in ensuring Karen Ghazaryan’s security and rights. The anti-Armenian and racist behavior of Azerbaijan, a CoE and UN member, is a manifestation of sly cynicism towards its international commitments and towards the entire international community, which should get a relevant response from them. The Interdepartmental Commission on Captives, Hostages and Missing Persons of the Republic of Armenia calls on all international governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations involved in human rights protection activities, to persistently pursue Karen Ghazaryan's rights. In addition, the Commission expresses its concern that the verdict against Karen Ghazaryan restricts the theoretical possibility of extradition of civilians that have accidentally found themselves in Armenia or Azerbaijan.