Question: How would you comment on the recent statement by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry that Azerbaijan expects Armenia to release two other Azerbaijani citizens?
Answer: First of all, it should be noted that Azerbaijan’s appeal to Armenia is untenable. As to the issue of the Azerbaijani criminals convicted in Artsakh, official Baku must directly appeal to official Stepanakert, which last December, as a gesture of goodwill has expressed readiness to consider within the framework of the law the possibility of early release of Azerbaijani citizen Elnur Huseynzade, who did not commit any grave or particularly grave crime in Artsakh.
At the same time, Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Artsakh called on official Baku to take a reciprocal step and release the Armenian hostages held in Azerbaijan, first of all, those with obvious health problems. The Azerbaijani side rejected this proposal by demonstrating both complete indifference to the fate of its citizen and full ignorance of its commitments assumed under international humanitarian law. The position of the Azerbaijani authorities on this issue leaves no doubt on the real intentions of official Baku.
In strict accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Artsakh, on February 2, 2019, citizen of Azerbaijan Elnur Huseynzade, convicted by the decision of the Artsakh Republic Court for 2 years of imprisonment for illegally crossing the state border (Article 350 of the Criminal Code) was released.
Elnur Huseynzade appealed to the authorities of the Republic of Artsakh, asking them not to return him to Azerbaijan. The possibility of transferring him to a third country is being considered.
As to Azerbaijan’s speculations of humanitarian matters, it should be noted that issues regarding the persons, who have committed grave crimes are on a different plane. Dilham Askerov and Shahbaz Guliyev, mentioned by Azerbaijan, are criminals who are found guilty of kidnapping and killing an underaged boy, based on the national hatred, as well as a range of other crimes committed in the territory of the Republic of Artsakh.
It is also worth to recall that there are flagrant examples of glorification of such criminals in Azerbaijan.