YEREVAN (Armenpress)—On the 10th anniversary of Gurgen Margaryan’s death, on Wednesday, a march in his memory began near his monument on Leningradian Street in Yerevan and went on to the Yerablur Military Pantheon. Hundreds of Armenian citizens paid tribute to the memory of the Armenian officer first near his statue, then at the Yerablur Military Pantheon. As Armenpress reports, the Armenian Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanian characterized Gurgen Margaryan’s assassination as a one-time genocide.
Ohanian said, “10 years have passed and we came together here to pay tribute to the Armenian officer. Our officer was killed for just being an Armenian and the criminal himself confessed that he was preparing to kill an Armenian.”
10 years have passed since the murder of Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan, who was brutally killed by Azerbaijani criminal Ramil Safarov. Although Ramil Safarov had to face the Hungarian justice system, Azerbaijani petrodollars and “caviar diplomacy” managed to set the murderer free a few years later.
On January 11, 2004, Margaryan left for Budapest, Hungary, to participate in a three-month English language course which was part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. On February 19, he was axed, while asleep, by his fellow Azerbaijani participant, Lieutenant Ramil Safarov. The murder took place at 5 am, while the victim was asleep.
After he killed Margaryan, Safarov went forward with his plan to murder another Armenian officer, Makuchyan, but discovered his door was locked.
A postmortem concluded that Safarov had delivered sixteen blows to Margaryan’s face, nearly severing his head from his body.
A briefing given by the Hungarian police added that Margaryan had also been stabbed several times in the chest.
Safarov, who was sentenced to life imprisonment, was transferred back to his home country on August 31, 2012, under an extradition agreement. Although Azerbaijan formally pledged that the life sentence handed down to him in Hungary would be directly continued when he was returned to his homeland, the Azerbaijani president granted him a pardon and formally recognized him as a “national hero” upon his arrival.
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian announced the same day that Armenia suspended diplomatic relations with Hungary.
A ‘regretful mistake’
The president of the Hungarian Honorary Consular Corps György Suha told Armenpress that the extradition of Safarov was a “regretful mistake.”
“Armenian-Hungarian relations and friendship have historic value,” Suha said. “It is very important to us to restore diplomatic relations with Armenia. Armenia is a friendly country and we have a general history and share common values.”
According to Suha, the extradition of Ramil Safarov was a political decision and did not have any legal background. “We should solve diplomatic issues diplomatically and find urgent solutions for the restoration of relations,” said Suha.
An event dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the death of Gurgen Margaryan will be held on February 19 at the Armenian Cultural Center of Hungary. Members of the Armenian community will place flowers by the cross-stone near the Danube River. Later, the Hungarian public activists, who paid a visit to Armenia after Safarov’s extradition and apologized to Margaryan’s parents, will speak at the Armenian Cultural Center of Hungary.