Armenian Youth Organizations Demand Justice for Slain Soldier
Protest Against Azeri and Hungarian Consulates in Los Angeles Scheduled for September 6
GLENDALE—A number of community youth organizations, including the Armenian Youth Federation, the Unified Young Armenians, the SDHP Gaidz Youth Organization, the All-ASA and the ARF Shant Student Association have joined forces to protest against the extradition and pardoning of an Azerbaijani soldier responsible for brutally murdering an Armenian military officer 8 years ago during NATO military exercises in Hungary. The protest will take place on Thursday, September 6th at 3 p.m. at the Azerbaijani and Hungarian Consulates–both located at 11766 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 410, Los Angeles, California 90025.
Below is the official statement released by the organizing committee regarding the issue:
We, the undersigned organizations, express our outrage with the immoral and irresponsible decision of the Hungarian Government to extradite a cold-blooded murderer, Ramil Safarov, responsible for the axing of an Armenian Army lieutenant, Gurgen Margaryan in Budapest on February 19, 2004 during the Partnership for Peace NATO Conference. We strongly condemn the hate-driven actions of the Azeri Government, which not only pardoned this criminal but also gave him a hero’s welcome.
In 2006, the Hungarian court found Safarov guilty of murdering Lt. Margaryan and sentenced him to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. His release, justified by the Hungarian Government by references to the 1983 Strasbourg Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, has allowed the murderer to escape just punishment and instead be treated as a national hero in Azerbaijan.
Officials in Budapest could not have been unaware of the fact that the above mentioned Convention contains a clause which allows the receiving country to issue pardons to transferred prisoners. Given the circumstances, it becomes obvious that the Hungarian Government has chosen to disregard morality and justice in exchange for Azeri petrodollars and the friendly disposition of the corrupt Aliyev regime.
This decision is even more deplorable due to the fact that despite the assurances from Azerbaijan that Safarov’s sentence would not be commuted, the brutal criminal was immediately pardoned by President Aliyev and was greeted as a national hero upon his return to Baku. Once again, we have witnessed the lionization of those who preach hatred towards Armenians, which is consistent with the antagonistic and xenophobic policies of the Government of Azerbaijan.
We condemn these actions of both the Government of Hungary and the corrupt regime in Baku. We urge the international community to join us in demanding an apology from the Hungarian Government and asking for the rescission of their immoral decision on extradition. From the Azeri Government, we demand a reversal of the pardon and an immediate imprisonment of Ramil Safarov. We call upon the Southern California community and especially Armenian Americans to join us in expressing our anger and demanding justice by participating in a protest in front of the Azeri and Hungarian Consulates in Los Angeles (11766 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025) on Thursday, September 6th at 3PM.
Armenian Youth Federation
Unified Young Armenians
SDHP Gaidz Youth Organization
ARF Shant Student Association