Sen. Kerry ‘Shocked And Appalled’ At Azerbaijani Release of Axe-Killer

Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. John Kerry

Lawmakers continue to decry Azeri actions.

WASHINGTON—Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) today condemned President Ilham Aliyev’s release of Ramil Safarov, the Azerbaijani lieutenant who was convicted of brutally axing to death Armenian soldier Gurgen Margaryan in his sleep, during a 2004 NATO training program.

“I am shocked and appalled that Azerbaijan not only welcomed Safarov home, but pardoned, promoted, and treated him as a hero,” noted Chairman Kerry, in a statement issued earlier today. “This needlessly provocative act endangers the fragile peace between these countries and damages the government of Azerbaijan’s credibility.”

ANCA Eastern Region Executive Director, and Watertown resident, Michelle Hagopian welcomed Chairman Kerry’s statement, noting “”We join with Armenian Americans from throughout the Commonwealth in welcoming Senator Kerry’s condemnation of Azerbaijan’s pardon of convicted axe-murderer Ramil Safarov. We thank the Senator for his principled stand against this injustice, and urge him and his legislative colleagues, in the interest of peace, to act now to cut off all U.S. military aid, sales, or transfers to Azerbaijan.”

Sen. Kerry echoes statements issued by a number of U.S. Representative this week decrying Azerbaijan’s release and subsequent glorification of Safarov.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Democrat Henry Waxman (D-CA) noted that he is “deeply disturbed by the President of Azerbaijan’s decision to pardon Ramil Safarov, an Azerbaijani military lieutenant who gruesomely murdered Armenian lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan while the two soldiers were participating in the 2004 NATO Partnership for Peace program in Hungary. It is an appalling demonstration of the Azerbaijani government’s continued refusal to reconcile with Armenia and its unwillingness to uphold the rule of law.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Democrat Howard Berman (D-CA) called Safarov’s release “contemptible,” noting “That Safarov in a premeditated fashion killed Margaryan at a NATO Partnership for Peace event underscores the cynical brutality of his act. For the Hungarian Government to have demonstrated leniency in this matter is of grave concern. . . . The Azerbaijani government’s decision to free Safarov is contemptible and a serious blow to hopes for Armenian-Azerbaijani peace.”

Central California Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA) told The Fresno Bee that “This injustice of international law committed by the government of Azerbaijan is an outrage, plain and simple.” In a longer statement issued to his constituents, he noted that “We in the United States stand firm with our friends in Armenia during these trying times because of our steadfast commitment to justice, peace and mutual respect. The actions of the Azeri government stand in stark contrast to these values and underline the need for the U.S. government to strongly support Armenia and its people.”

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), one of two Members of Congress of Armenian origin, called for the immediate reincarceration of the Safarov. “Safarov’s release dangerously undermines the rule of law and peace throughout the region. The Azerbajani government should immediately reverse its decision to pardon Safarov.”

Earlier, Congressional Armenian Genocide Resolution architect Adam Schiff (D-CA) commented that “Hungary, where Safarov was supposed to be serving a life sentence, and Azerbaijan owe the international community an explanation for this terrible subversion of justice. This is an appalling result in the case of a confessed killer.”

Upon hearing the news of the release, Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian released a statement condemning Azerbaijan’s actions.

“By pardoning a convicted, savage murderer under such fraudulent circumstances, the Azerbaijani government has once again proven that it cannot be trusted and has no regard for justice. In freeing this heartless murderer who brutally murdered an Armenian lieutenant, Gurgen Markarian, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev has once again demonstrated to the world his devotion to intolerance, hate and division, not peace and understanding,” said Kerkorian.

The ANCA reported last week on statements issued by Congressional Armenian Caucus co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and senior House Foreign Affairs Committee Member Brad Sherman’s condemnation of the Safarov release. White House and State Department condemnation was swift last week, following thousands of calls and emails from Armenian Americans across the U.S. expressing outrage. The White House statement, issued in the name of National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor, underscores the President’s view that, “This action is contrary to ongoing efforts to reduce regional tensions and promote reconciliation.” Vietor goes on to note that “The United States is also requesting an explanation from Hungary regarding its decision to transfer Safarov to Azerbaijan.”


Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.


  1. Avery said:

    Stop it already with all the “shocked” and “appalled” nonsense: everybody and his brother is “shocked”,”shocked” and “appalled”,”appalled” …. harrumph….harrumph…

    If you truly are Sen. Kerry, then do something tangible.
    Introduce a bill in the Senate to recognize NKR.

  2. ARA said:

    We know the Azeri’s are mongrols- shame on Hungarian leadership-is he a dictator or what? slipping the butcher home after what he did- May the same fate hit the Hungarian guy or people that took part in this move to get the murderer home and free-he or they knew EXACTLY what he was doing-may a slow death hit u hard u bastard or bastards
    and Thank u Mr Kerry- we appreciate from the heart your writing-thank u

  3. bigmoustache said:

    to the US, european union, israel
    1. recognize artsakh, what more proof do you need to see that armenians arnt safe living under azeri rule. has there even been any talk or consideration for armenians living in baku? they must live in fear
    2. stop training and arming these savages

    i think its safe to say no odar could ever mention to us the notion of living under azeri rule. we have been saying this since the pogroms in sumgait, baku and kirovabad, and the imposed war.

  4. George said:

    A lawsuit against NATO should be placed, requesting compensation, futhermore NO soldier should colaborate with NATO until Intn’l comunity takes the necessary steps to correct this disgrace.

  5. Sevag said:

    Everyone talks adn expresses regret – can someone DO somethign about it please? We’ve heard “feel good” talk too many times….and I still don’t feel good

    • Alex Postallian said:

      Sevag:Simple answer,the ugly turk commited a mafia execution,turn about is fair play.Some person,with guts,should,execute the ugly turk,mafia style, Stilitto from ear to ear.End of story.

  6. zograp said:

    turks mongol are only one people who can massacre babies in their mothers stomach and who can betray and backstab every one who once trusted them even in their most miserable times! .turks mongol also played a BIG ROLE in HITLER’s ARMY while massacring the JEWISH people turks mongol.are known worldwide by their enormeous killer and rubber habits.TRADITION! SO f