Azerbaijan announced that an Artsakh resident who was being transported from Karabakh to Armenia by the International Committee of the Red Cross has been arrested and will face criminal charges when he arrives in Baku.
The Azerbaijani Prosecutor General’s office said that a “an international warrant” for the arrest of Vakif Khachatryan was issued in 2013. Baku is filing several criminal charges against the Artsakh resident, including “involvement in Genocide.”
“The investigation established that on the specified date, a citizen of Azerbaijan, born in 1955, a native of the village of Badara, [Mayraberd] Askeran region, who lived in this village, Vagif Cherkezovich Khachatryan, who worked as a driver at the city motor transport enterprise in [Stepanakert] Khankendi, together with other persons of Armenian nationality in the village of [Kharkhaput] Meshli, using various weapons, including firearms and infantry fighting vehicles, carried out an armed attack on this village; 25 people of Azerbaijani nationality were killed, 14 people received bodily injuries of varying severity, 358 people were forcibly evicted from their places of legal residence. In addition, Khachatryan, continuing joint criminal actions with persons with whom he had previously colluded, caused material damage to the state and the property of the villagers in the total amount of 5 million 496 thousand 900 Manats,” Azerbaijani media reported.
Artsakh Presidential Advisor Artak Beglaryan called the charges against Khachatryan fabricated.
“Like all men, he [Khachatryan] also defended his homeland during the war of 1991-94. However, Azerbaijan’s accusation is false, because there was no such operation in the village of Meshali,” he wrote on X.
Azerbaijani authorities on Saturday detained a 68-year-old Artsakh citizen while he was being transported by the International Committee of the Red Cross to Armenia to receive medical treatment. The ICRC representative is also with the detained man.
Armenia and Artsakh are accusing Azerbaijan of kidnapping the Artsakh citizen.
Armenian authorities later identified the man as Vagif Khachatryan, who according to the Artsakh authorities was taken to another location by Azerbaijani authorities.
“At this moment the ICRC representative is with our citizen, but the negotiations haven’t produced any results so far, we are waiting for new information,” Artsakh State Minister Gurgen Nersisyan said in a statement.
“Other patients have been evacuated to a hospital in Goris by a Red Cross representative who arrived from Goris. The evacuation was carried out via the same route. However, the planned return of those who have completed treatment in Armenia has been cancelled,” added Nersisyan.
He added that the Azerbaijani authorities are continuously attempting to obstruct the ICRC medical evacuations by setting forth new conditions, and that this move was “yet another step to make people fear using Lachin Corridor even for essential healthcare purposes.”
The ICRC’s Armenia spokesperson Zara Amatuni told Armenpress that the organization was taking relevant measures, through dialogue, regarding Khachatryan’s detention.
She said that until today the Red Cross was able to transport people – patients or those who had expressed desire to reunite with their families – “through previously arranged procedures.”
“Regarding this specific situation, I have to say that we are addressing all problems with the corresponding authorities, but we will do so through dialogue and it will be confidential. As of this moment I can’t convey any other details on the incident,” Amatuni added.
“Troubled by news that 68-year-old patient, being transported from Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia for medical treatment, accompanied by ICRC, was abducted at illegally installed checkpoint by border guard service of Azerbaijan. Abduction of person under international humanitarian protection is flagrant violation of IHL,” Armenia’s foreign ministry spokesperson Ani Badalyan said in a social media post.
Armenia’s Ambassador at Large Edmon Marukyan accused Azerbaijan of kidnapping the Artsakh patient, saying his whereabouts was unknown.
“On a daily basis, Azerbaijan is resigning from the fake narratives it has created regarding their willingness to live in coexistence with the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. Today, 68-year-old Vagif Khachatryan, who was being transported from Nagorno Karabagh to Armenia for a medical treatment, accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross, was abducted by the representatives of the border guard service of Azerbaijan and taken to an unknown direction. Neither the relatives of Khachatryan, nor the ICRC representatives or Russian peacekeepers are aware about the whereabouts of Vagif Khachatryan. His fate is unknown as of this writing,” Marukyan said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The detention of the patient happened a day after several diplomats accredited in Armenia visited Kornidzor, in Armenia’s Syunik Province, where a convoy of 19 trucks carrying humanitarian assistance from Armenia to Artsakh has been stranded not allowed entry into Artsakh.