Stepanakert Refuses Release of Convicted Azerbaijani Murderers

Shahbaz Quliyev (right) and Dilgam Askerov (third from left), Azerbaijani men charged by Karabakh's authorities with murder of a teenager, stand trial in Stepanakert. Oct. 27, 2014. (Photo: RFE/RL)


STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL)—Nagorno-Karabakh’s authorities have refused to consider the release of two Azerbaijani nationals who were convicted and jailed last year on charges of committing a number of crimes, including a teenager’s murder.

Azerbaijan did not recognize the legality of the trial in which its citizens, Dilham Askerov and Shahbaz Quliyev, were sentenced to life and 22 years in prison, respectively.

United States Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland addressed the issue during her visits to Baku and Yerevan earlier this week.

In the Armenian capital on Wednesday the senior U.S. diplomat called on “relevant authorities” to make a “humanitarian gesture.”

“I did speak about the terrible crime that was committed. It was obviously a crime. That said, we do call on relevant authorities to make the kind of humanitarian gesture that I spoke of at my previous press event,” said Nuland at a news conference in Yerevan.

Talking to reporters in Stepanakert on Thursday, Nagorno-Karabakh’s Defense Minister Movses Hakobian said that the matter was not subject to discussion. He stressed that no one should be telling the Karabakh authorities what to do.

“It is not subject to comment and consideration,” he said. “She [Nuland] expressed her thought, and we [simply] took note of that,” he said.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian also insisted that the guilt of the Azerbaijani citizens was proved during a trial in Karabakh as he met with the American, French and Russian co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE’s) Minsk Group in Yerevan on Tuesday.

In an interview with the Karabakh-based Artsakhpress news agency on Feb. 18 the U.S. co-chair of the group, Ambassador James Warlick expressed a view that the release of the two Azerbaijani nationals could be a positive step for the peace process.

“In the past, the sides have generally found a way to return prisoners as a humanitarian gesture. With tensions as high as they are, such humanitarian gestures can lead to a more positive environment for negotiations to take place,” the mediator said.

The Armenian National Committee of America’s Executive Director Aram Hamparian commented on the issue, saying, “Any U.S. dialogue with Azerbaijan regarding prisoner issues must be predicated upon Azerbaijan first agreeing to an American demand for the re-incarceration of Ramil Safarov, an admitted and unapologetic Azerbaijani axe-murderer who was pardoned, praised, and promoted by Ilham Aliyev after having killed an Armenian officer in his sleep during a NATO training exercise in Hungary.”

“The spectacle of Azerbaijan publicly honoring yet more killers of Armenians would — in addition to being a moral outrage — further destabilize the region, inciting anti-Armenian hatred, emboldening Aliyev’s aggression, and undermining prospects for peace,” Hamparian said.

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16 Comments

  1. Vahagn said:

    Why not? If Armenia has already released Permyakov, then it is very natural to release Azeris too.

  2. Norin said:

    Vitoria Nulanf should shut her big mouth and not stick her big nose into the judicial ongoings of sovereign nations like Arstakh. It’s preposterous to even consider that convicted murderers being released would be any sort of humanitarian gesture, especially to Azeri baboons. For these animals of the Caucus, release of murderers would only be seen as a sign of weakness. They would set free immediately and laugh about it while Victoria Nuland has a press conference calling their pardon by Alliev ” unfortunate “.

    These two scumbags should never see the light of day again. Furthermore Nuland and Co. should first clean up the mess they created in Syria and Ukraine, their plotting and CIA antics have caused an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe for millions of people that were living peacefully. She also helped create and train what is now known as ISIS. So Ms. Nuland, shut your big mouth!

    Lastly, if the U.S. state department is interested in making humanitarian gestures happen in the causes, instead of asking for the release of convicted murderers, they should practice what they preach. Release Hambig Sassounian to Armenia, and arrange for Ramil Safarov to be transferred to Armenia to serve out the rest of his sentence.

    • john goncuian said:

      Precisely, Nuland a 2 FACED snake will say and do anything just or unjust makes no difference the world knows her involvement in Ukraine crisis. ARMENIA and ARTSAKH will deal with this AZERI BASTARD behind the bars until his miserable life ends.

  3. Ararat said:

    Line up these two disgusting-looking Azerbabooni criminal murderers against the wall and have them executed by a firing squad and demand a payment for those precious bullets wasted on them from their families.

  4. PAUL BARDIZBANIAN said:

    VICTORIA NULAND AND THE STATE DEPT ARE ON DRUGS OR JUST PLAIN INCOMPETENT. AXE AN ARMENIAN AND GET A HERO’S WELCOME, A PROMOTION AND A PARADE WILL BE THE NEW NORM IN HUMANITARIAN CRIMINAL EXCHANGES. NO SNL OR JOHN STEWART TO MOCK THESE IDIOTS? IS THERE NOT A GENIUS TO PUBLICIZE THIS TRAVESTY OF EVENTS WHICH ALMOST ECLIPSES THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE BY TURKEY.?

  5. Edward Demian said:

    22 years? What is that? Has Artzachk ran out of chopping blocks or rope?

  6. Mike Mirakian said:

    Absolutely NOT! These are not mere soldiers who were captured because they wandered over the border line. They are MURDERERS and must suffer the obvious consequences.

  7. Antranik said:

    Warlick and Nuland can go and stuff themselves. This animals comited a bad crime and they have to pay the penalty to the end.Humanitarian gesture does not come into it .Cheeky B- – – – – – s.
    Artsah authorities must stand firm.

  8. Hannibal said:

    de vor menk asum eink vor ed turkerin satkatsrek es orva hamar er.nrants barekamner amerikatsi yev rus ariunarbu azgere k khlen drants yev k pokhen navti het.drants kakhek u nuinpesel nalbandiannerin u sergiknerin .nrants el piti satkatsnenk .

  9. Jove said:

    The death penalty should be re introduced in the penal code. The sewer rats deserve their necks to be severed. Hand over the severed necks of these rats to Nuland to deliver to Alyev , on humanitarian grounds. Remember Ukraine, which Nuland helped wreck and start a civil war. It is a disgrace the government invited this scabious witch to set foot in the country.

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