Thousands Protest Safarov Release at Hungarian Parliament
BY KHATCHIG MOURADIAN
From The Armenian Weekly
BUDAPEST, Hungary—Thousands of Hungarians gathered in front of the parliament building in Budapest, expressing outrage at their government’s decision to extradite axe-murderer Safarov to his home country Azerbaijan, where he received a hero’s welcome, was pardoned, and promoted.
In 2004, Safarov murdered Gurgen Margaryan, an Armenian lieutenant, with an axe, while the latter was asleep. He was sentenced to life in prison.
“The honor of Hungarians is not for sale” read one banner. Another, in Hungarian, read “This is not our shame!” A third read, “We are sorry, Armenia!” and was also one of the main chants at the demonstration.
“Murderers should not be extradited to countries where it is clear that ethnic hate crimes are considered heroism,” protester Laszlo Muhari told Reuters. “In a democratic country this is not acceptable.”
Muhari added, “[Prime Minister Viktor] Orban should stop lying and start giving clear answers, because it is simply impossible that such a brutal killer is just released without a background deal.”
‘Stupid, unethical, uncivilized, illegal’
Thousands of Hungarians continued joining Facebook groups apologizing for their government’s action. One such group, called “Sorry, Armenia,” had more than 11,300 followers as of Sept. 4.
In comments provided to Armenian Weekly editor Khatchig Mouradian, Krulf, the founder of the group, said, “We have nothing to do with either Armenian or Azeri affairs. This is about the Hungarian government’s stupid, unethical, un-European, uncivilized, internationally illegal, deplorable action, for which we, as some of the thinking and civilized citizens of this country, wish to apologize.”
“As human beings, we wish to express that this was not done with our agreement, on our behalf or in our name. We distance ourselves from this government,” added Krulf, who uses a cyber-name fearing government reprisal.
“It is our internal problem which, however, touches on other nations and international affairs and concerns, by all accounts, not only the people of Armenia, but people in many countries. It has caused a huge international uproar and consternation by many, including the President of the United States. So we will apologize, we are apologizing,” he concluded.
For more details on the reaction of thousands of Hungarians outraged by their government’s action, read our report here.
Meanwhile, Armenians and others condemning the extradition took part in demonstrations and gatherings across the world.
In Calcutta, India, members of the Armenian community gathered in front of the Hungarian consulate on Sept. 3 carrying signs that read, “Shame on you, Hungary” and demanding an apology from the Hungarian government.
On the same day, Armenians gathered in front of the Hungarian embassy in Oslo, Norway for a similar demonstration.
Dozens of demonstrations are scheduled worldwide for later this week. On Sept. 5, a demonstration will be held in front of the Hungarian embassy in Cyprus. On Sept. 6, a large demonstration will take place in front of the Azerbaijani and Hungarian consulates in Los Angeles.
The author would like to thank Zsuzsanna Guba for her help with translations from Hungarian.