STRASBOURG—The European Court of Human Rights has asked Azerbaijan to give an explanation of its “official position in connection with the repatriation of Karen Petrosyan’s body,” the Foundation Against the Violation of Law (FAVL) reports.
On September 10, a working group representing the family of Karen Petrosyan, an Armenian civilian killed under Azerbaijani custody, applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) requesting intervention under Rule 39 of the Court’s General Rules. The appeal calls for Azerbaijan to immediately return the remains of Petrosyan to his family in a dignified state.
“International law requires that the remains be returned without any preconditions,” said Larisa Alaverdyan, Executive Director of the Foundation Against the Violation of Law (FAVL) and one of the members of the working group. “This illegal delay serves to compound the already tremendous suffering felt by this innocent civilian’s family.”
The working group is composed of experts in the field of international human rights law who will represent the interests of the Petrosyan family, both in domestic proceedings in Armenia and at the ECHR. Human Rights lawyers Kristina Gevorkyan, Ara Ghazaryan and Vahe Grigoryan, together with human rights defenders Larisa Alaverdyan and Artak Zeynalyan, are representing the family before the ECHR.
In response to the request of the Petrosyan family’s representatives, the ECHR communicated to the government of Azerbaijan on September 12, asking “to explain its official position in connection with the repatriation of Karen Petrosyan’s body and to provide information on the reasons for the delay in returning of the body to his relatives.” The deadline for the information requested was indicated as September 26.
Petrosyan, who lived in a borderland village in northeastern Armenia, was taken captive on August 7 after mistakenly appearing in the territory of Azerbaijan. Shocking images of him being dragged by masked soldiers were distributed to the media by authorities in Azerbaijan, in which he was being brutally forced to beg pardon from the president of Azerbaijan. The next day, the Defense Ministry announced that he had “suddenly” died of “heart failure.” The circumstances surrounding the death of Karen Petrosyan raise serious doubts as to the cause of the death announced by Azerbaijani authorities.
Despite calls from the United States, France, Russia, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, Azerbaijan has not repatriated the body of Petrsoyan.