Official Azerbaijani sources confirmed on Tuesday that Artsakh’s former presidents Arkady Ghukasian and Bako Sahakian, as well as Artsakh’s Parliament Speaker Davit Ishkhanyan, have been arrested and have already been transported to Baku. The sources also said that Artsakh’s former president Arayik Harutyunyan has been arrested and is being transported to Baku.
Artsakh’s State Minister Artur Harutyunyan told Azatutyun.am that he, Artsakh’s National Security Services chief Ararat Melkumyan and interior minister, Karen Sagrsyan, along with the president’s chief of staff have crossed over to Armenia having passed the Azerbaijani checkpoint in Lachin.
He did not elaborate on the fate of the former presidents, but told Azatutyun.am that when they were leaving Artsakh those leaders were still in Stepanakert.
Azerbaijan announced on Sunday that it has compiled a 300-person “most wanted” list, comprised of prominent Artsakh officials and military leaders.
In addition to the former presidents and the speaker of the parliament, thus far Azerbaijan has arrested Artsakh’s former foreign minister Davit Babayan, former state minister Ruben Vardanyan, as well as two top military officials, Levon Mnatsakanyan and Davit Manoukyan.
Artsakh’s current president Samvel Shahramanyan said he will stay in Stepanakert until the search for people who died or went missing as a result of last week’s powerful fuel depot explosion and victims of the Azerbaijani attack on Artsakh on September 19 is over.
Shahramanyan signaled on Friday that he was going to negotiate with the Azerbaijanis to allow former Artsakh leaders and other prominent figures to leave for Armenia safely.
Azerbaijan has been quick to dismantle the communications infrastructure in Artsakh and replace it with its own service.
Azatutyun reported that because of a switch over of the phone service to “Azertelecom,” communications with Artsakh has slowed and, in some cases, stopped.