Hakob Injighulyan Testifies During Trial of Azeri Saboteurs

Shahbaz Guliyev (R) and Dilham Askerov (third from L), Azerbaijani men charged by Karabakh's authorities with sabotage, stand before a court in Stepanakert. (Photo: RFE/RL)


STEPANAKERT, (Armenpress)—Serviceman of the Artsakh Defense Army Hakob Injighulyan, who was taken captive by Azerbaijan nearly a year ago, was a witness during the December 3 trial of Shahbaz Guliyev and Dilham Askerov, two members of an Azerbaijani group that illegally crossed the Artsakh state border from the Shahumian region in July of 2014, killing one teenage boy and injuring another woman. The trial was held at the first instance court of general jurisdiction of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

Hakob Injighulyan was interrogated in captivity in Azerbaijan by the third, now deceased, member of the sabotage group, officer of Azerbaijan’s Special Service Hasan Hasanov, who, along with the other members of the group, had been filming scenes in the Karvatchar region of Artsakh.

Injighulyan was first introduced to the video made during the interrogation in Azerbaijan, after which he responded to the questions from the judge and attorneys. He provided details of his captivity in Azerbaijan in relation to the case.

22-year-old Injighulian crossed into Azerbaijani-controlled territory east of Karabakh after losing his bearings in August 2013. Shortly afterward, he was paraded on Azerbaijani television saying that he surrendered to Azerbaijani forces due to being ill-treated by one of his commanders.

Injighulyan was released to a third country, after which he returned to Armenia. He has recounted his mistreatment by his Azeri captors.

“There were beatings, humiliation, and verbal abuse. They said that ‘if you don’t do what we want you’ll meet the fate of that shepherd,’” Injighulian said, referring to Manvel Saribekian, a 20-year-old resident of an Armenian border village who was found hanged in an Azerbaijani prison in 2010 just weeks after wandering into Azerbaijan.

According to Injighulian, Azerbaijani military authorities also warned him beforehand against disclosing key details of his treatment to representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who repeatedly visited him in custody. He claimed that Azerbaijani officials also threatened to kill him if he asks to be repatriated, rather than sent to a third country.

Artsakh authorities who captured the two Azeri commandos say they found video footage of Injighulyan’s mistreatment in one of the cameras that the group was carrying to conduct reconnaissance. The third member of the group, who was killed, was reportedly a member of Azerbaijan’s special services who interrogated Injighulyan.

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