Five Armenian POWs Still in Azerbaijan

YEREVAN (Snark)–The Armenian foundation against legalarbitrariness has reliable information about five Armenian POWs being held in Azerbaijan. However–official Baku is still keeping silent about this–Larisa Alaverdyan–chairwoman of the Foundation Against Legal Arbitrariness–announced in a press conference.

She said these five people were on a list of missing people and information about them came regularly from Azerbaijan. Unfortunately–she said–the amount of information from Azerbaijan about missing people has decreased recently. The chairwoman of the foundation stressed that she is in fact taking a risk by talking about these five servicemen. The trouble is that the foundation had earlier informed Azerbaijan about four Armenian POWs. However–Azerbaijan has still neither confirmed not denied this information.

Alaverdyan said that in 2000–Armenia returned 10 Azerbaijani POWs. In turn–Azerbaijan returned three POWs and one corpse. Since 1992–Armenia has returned 1,600 Azerbaijanis to Azerbaijan. No less than 700 Armenian POWs returned home. Alaverdyan pointed out with regret that the Armenian POWs–who returned to Armenia in 2000–had been regarded as missing persons for a long time. She said they were in the hands of private individuals and in military units. The main reason for concealing Armenian POWs is to receive a ransom for them and keep them as slaves. She described Baku’s allegations about several hundred Azerbaijani POWs being held in Armenia as wide of the mark. What they are talking about is about missing people–Alaverdyan stressed.

In Armenia–there are four Azerbaijani POWs at the moment–Larisa Alaverdyan claimed. Three of them were taken captive between August and November 2000. Alaverdyan said that the POWs would be returned once it was established how they entered Armenian territory. As for the fourth Azerbaijani POW–he has been in Armenia for quite a long time and does not want to go back to Baku as he fears the fate that awaits him there. This POW has already appealed to third countries for asylum.

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