Armenian Captive Found Hanged In Azeri Prison

BAKU (RFE/RL)–An Armenian man detained in Azerbaijan in disputed circumstances last month has been found dead in his prison cell, military authorities in Baku said on Tuesday.

In a joint statement reported by local media, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry and Office of the Military Prosecutor claimed that Manvel Saribekian, 20, hanged himself early in the morning. It said forensic experts found no traces of violence on his body.

A senior Armenian official asserted, however, that Saribekian was either beaten to death or “driven into suicide.” “Whatever happened, they would have claimed that he committed suicide,” said Armen Kaprielian, head of a government commission on Armenian prisoners of war, civilian captives and missing persons.

“In any case, we are talking about a crime, a brutal one,” Kaprielian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “We will do everything to have Azerbaijani officials and bodies guilty of what happened brought to account.”

The Armenian ministries of defense and foreign affairs refrained from immediately commenting on the extraordinary death.

The Azerbaijani authorities say that Saribekian was captured on September 11 after crossing into northwestern Azerbaijan with an Armenian armed group tasked with carrying out armed “provocations.”

The Armenian Defense Ministry denied these claims, saying that Saribekian is a civilian resident of Tutujur, a village in northeastern Armenia close to the Azerbaijani border, who completed his military service in May. It said Saribekian accidentally strayed into Azerbaijani territory while grazing cattle in the area.

The ministry also strongly condemned an interview with Saribekian that was aired by a government-controlled Azerbaijani TV channel later in September. Saribekian, who had what looked a like bruise under his right eye, was shown saying that he was recruited by an Armenian security officer in Tutujur and underwent a two-month training course at a secret military camp together with several other men.

Saribekian claimed that they were sent into Azerbaijan on a mission to blow up a school in a village close to the Armenian border. At the same time, he said he told Azerbaijani troops that captured him, “Please don’t kill me, I’m a shepherd.”

“I am more than convinced that he was coerced to say that,” Kaprielian said, commenting on the video. He said Armenian soldiers and civilians kept in Azerbaijani captivity have given harrowing accounts of torture after their liberation.

The official added that his commission has asked the International Committee of the Red Cross to obtain more information about Saribekian’s death through its Baku office and hopes that his body will be repatriated soon. “We have no official information from Baku yet,” he said.

Instances of Armenian and Azerbaijani civilians crossing the heavily militarized border between their countries, apparently after losing their way, have not been uncommon. In April, for example, Armenia repatriated an Azerbaijani man who was detained in its northern Tavush region last December. It remained unclear whether the 46-year-old Eldar Tagiyev crossed the Armenian frontier intentionally or by accident.

Saribekian was captured amid more frequent ceasefire violations reported from the main Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Nagorno-Karabakh. At least one Armenian and four Azerbaijani soldiers were killed in a northern section of the frontline last month. Each warring side blamed the other for the deadly skirmishes.


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  1. The Truth said:

    The barbaric acts against this young Armenian show how criminal indeed the authorities in Baku are!
    I would suggest that the family of this killed citizen of Armenian to look for ways to suing the government of Azerbaijan. Beside this RA members of PACE should forward a resolution in international organisations condemning the criminal actions the authorities in Baku !

  2. Tony said:

    In my view, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry must be held fully liable for Manvel Saribekian’s death. The Armenian Government and the parents/relatives of the victim, must sue the Azerbaijan’s government; perhaps, for millions of dollars so that, they would think “twice” before killing another innocent Armenian. What say you?

  3. Tony said:

    I guess, European Court for human rights violation by States is the perfect place to take Sultan Aliev’s goverment to task.

  4. Wolf Hunter said:

    It is obvious that they killed an innocent boy. If he had any explosives or weapons I am sure the Azeris would have parade it. Shameful act.

    Rest in Peace Manvel jan.

  5. Jay said:

    Looks like this kid was tortured,beaten badly then hung by Azeri cockroaches. Look at his face and you could see the evidence.

    • aramar said:

      I think armenians should have thought about possible consequences of not returning dead Azeri soldier’s body to his family.

  6. raf said:

    I think neither the PACE nor European courts will not do anything to punish the savages who call themselves the nation of azerbaijan, the best response would be to do the same to their captives “eye for an aye,” that is the only thing that these savages really understand, kill one of their captives and shamelessly claim that it was a suicide and don’t waist your time in European courts.

  7. Hye-phenated said:

    I suggest that the “Radio Free Europe” (RFE/RL) coverage of the recent developments in Azerbaijan be investigated. This US taxpayers paid service became a mouthpiece of the corrupt government of Azerbaijan pretending to take a “neutral” position and at the same time promoting official positions of Baku and its corrupt leadership. Their coverage of the recent intrusions by Azeri special forces into Artsakh territory undoubtedly contributed to Samvel’s death. Azeris now want to exchange his body for the body of Mubariz Ibrahimov, an Azeri commando who was killed inside Artsakh territory in March of this year. Mubariz was made a hero of Azerbaijan by President Ilham Aliyev but his bones are still scattered where he met his death. Since that time Azeris made several attempts to recover his body, take hostages and kill Armenians by sniper fire.

  8. Raffi said:

    Why are we supposed to give azeri captives back and they do not reciprocate the act but they kill the captive. I believe the Armenian Government should punish the azeries by using lethal force.

  9. Hagop said:

    The title is misleading as it gets it’s source from the Azeri news. It should be rephrased “Armenian captive killed in Azeri prison”…

    I was very saddened by the news. His last days/ hours must have been very difficult.

  10. Nairian said:

    It is very sad. The poor guy was so young and didn’t have a chance to live. Those barbaic pogrom azeris should be taken to the international court. Unfortunately I am not surprised by their barbaric ways; but I feel terrible first for his sweet life that was crudely taken away from him, then I feel terrible also for his poor parents. It is truly sad.

  11. Arn.Sweden. said:

    HMMM –

    The Azerbaijani authorities say that Saribekian was captured on September 11 after crossing into northwestern Azerbaijan with an Armenian armed group tasked with carrying out armed “provocations.”

    Saribekian claimed that they were sent into Azerbaijan on a mission to blow up a school in a village close to the Armenian border. At the same time, he said he told Azerbaijani troops that captured him, “Please don’t kill me, I’m a shepherd.”




  12. Paul said:

    In response, we should never return the corpse of their so called national hero soldier ibraxerov. Let us not forget we are at war with the enemy.

  13. Z said:

    You’re entitled to kill an enemy at war. But killing a POW is a war crime. So I hope they will but brought to justice. r.i.p.

  14. Fred said:

    Why cant be neighbours with civilised countries like Switserland and Holand. Why are we cursed to live amongst animals that look like humans. I mean what is wrong with these people. Are you taoght to act like animals from early age. God give me strength.

    • Arn.Sweden. said:

      God give me strength.