Red Cross Working to Meet with Armenian Hostage

Arsen Khojayan pictured in a photograph released by Azeri news agency Xezerxeber

YEREVAN (Armenpress)—Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the South Caucasus are planning to meet with 22-year-old Armenian citizen Arsen Khojoyan, who is currently under custody in Azerbaijan after wandering across the border from his home village of Verin Karmiraghbyur. A lead representative from the Red Cross’ Yerevan office told Armenpress news agency that a date for the meeting is not yet clear.

The representative, Zara Amatuni, noted, “Our organization has already gotten in touch with the Azerbaijani authorities and at the present moment we are conducting dialogue to organize the meeting as soon as possible.” In addition, Amatuni said that an exchange of letters between Arsen Khojoyan and his family will be arranged at the visit.

A citizens’ organization in the Tavush province of Armenia, where Khojoyan is from, has issued an open letter to Armenian representatives in international organizations – including the UN and the OSCE – calling for attention to be brought to the violence committed against an elderly citizen from Verin Karmiraghbyur who was similarly captured by Azeris a month ago.

77-year-old Mamikon Khojoyan, who village officials confirmed is related to Arsen Khojoyan, was detained by Azeri authorities when he similarly wandered across the border into Azerbaijan. Azeri authorities detained him for one month, insisting that he was part of an Armenian commando unit making an excursion into Azerbaijan. Upon his release and return to Armenia last week, caretakers learned that the man was tortured while in detention, still bearing fresh marks from physical abuse.

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