Azeri POW Release Delayed by Azerbaijan

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Four Azeri POW’s–who had been scheduled to be freed last week–remain in Shushi–because of their government’s refusal to release Armenian POW’s–including Armen Kahren Gevorkian–who awaits the death penalty for an alleged crime.

Recent Azeri POW’s released have had long criminal records–however–the issue has never been raised in connection to their status as POW’s.

Noyan Tapan correspondent Zhanna Krikorova met with Nazim Mekhtiyev–a 21-year-old Baku native–who has been in custody for several months.

Mekhtiyev told Krikorova that the prisoners were aware of their partial release and the subsequent return to prison. He criticized his government for not taking into consideration their own soldier’s lives.

The correspondent spoke to the POW about his plans upon returning to Azerbaijan and Mekhtiyev said he planed to marry and live in peace.

Asked about the events of 1988–Mekhtiyev–who at the time was 12–said he lived in peace and friendship with his Armenian neighbors–and when his government launched the massacres and pogroms–he could not understand the reason.

He explained that another round of violent fighting would be devastating for his country–and that he wholeheartedly advocated peace and the resolution of the conflict.

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