YEREVAN (News.am)—The case of a civilian Armenian who was killed in Azeri captivity in October was reviewed by the Coordinating Council of Prosecutors General of the CIS member states, who redirected Armenia’s inquiry to Azerbaijan.
Armenia’s Prosecutor General Aghvan Hovsepyan Earlier Armenia’s Prosecutor General Aghvan Hovsepyan sent a letter to his Russian counterpart Yuri Chaika requesting he review the case of Manvel Saribekyan, who was found hanged by his Azeri captives after being captured in September and branded a “saboteur.”
At the time Armenian officials said that the 20-year-old Saribekyan, who was from the village of Tutujur in the Gegharkunik region of Armenia, was a civilian and was tortured to death or “driven to suicide.”
Armenian officials also said that Saribekyan had demobilized from the Armenian army four months prior to being captured by Azeri troops and was working as a shephard. They say he crossed a nearby section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani frontier by accident.
Saribekian’s mother, Siranush Balian, and other close relatives, confirmed this when they spoke to RFE/RL’s Armenian service in Tutujur at the time. They said that the young man had scraped a modest living for his impoverished family by selling firewood since ending his military service in May. They said he went missing on September 11 after going to a nearby forest to collect more firewood and graze the family’s sole cow in the process.
Prosecutor General Hovsepyan also sent a letter to his Azeri counterpart Zakir Garalov asking for assistance in the investigation into the Saribekyan’s death, specifically to say whether the investigating authorities had conducted an inquiry and asked for proper documentation from the criminal case or criminal case materials.
Armenian Prosecutor General’s Office also guaranteed that the any materials obtained from Azerbaijan would be used only for the purposes of an investigation.
The Coordinating Council asked the Azeri side to consider the request and report the results to the Coordinating Council and the Prosecutor General of Armenia in a short period of time, said Sona Truzyan, a spokesperson for the Armenian Prosecutor General.
Truzyan said that Hovsepyan’s letter was sent in May but the Armenian side has not received any response from the Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan thus far.
After the incident, a criminal case was instituted under Article 104 of Armenia’s Criminal Code (murder committed with extreme cruelty due to national, racial or religious hatred or religious fanaticism).
Forensic examination revealed that the death was caused by mechanical asphyxia by compression of the neck, which means he hanged himself or was hanged. Signs of torture and violence, inflicted one to two prior to his death were found on his body.