Armenia slams international community for its failure to respond to violation of Armenian captives rights in Azerbaijan
YEREVAN, August 24, /ARKA/. A deputy Armenian defense minister Davit Tonoyan slammed today international humanitarian organizations and human rights activists for their failure to respond to what he described as ‘Azerbaijan’s permissiveness’ regarding an Armenian army conscript, Hakob Idjighulyan, captured by Azeri troops earlier this month near Nagorno-Karabakh.
Tonoyan’s remarks came as he met with representatives of the Armenian offices of the UNHCR and the International Committee of Red Cross. He said Armenian authorities are concerned over continued violation of the captured conscript’s rights.
Tonoyan was quoted by the press service of Armenian defense ministry as saying that no international organization has condemned the "interview" with Hakob Ijighulyan, broadcast by an Azerbaijani TV.
The Azerbaijani side claims that Injighulyan defected to its frontline troops on August 8 after being physically abused by one of his commanders. The Armenian military denied this, saying the 22-year-old conscript accidentally strayed into Azerbaijani-controlled territory. It has condemned Baku for ‘interviewing’ the POW.
"It is evident that Azerbaijani authorities are exerting strong moral and psychological, and possibly physical pressure on Hagop, forcing him to make contradictory statements. A forced interview can not be considered as grounds for his handing to a third country," the Armenian defense ministry said.
Tonoyan reiterated that Ijighulyan will not face prosecution when repatriated because of absence of crime in his actions. The press service reminded also that no citizen of Armenia, repatriated from Azerbaijan previously had ever been prosecuted.
The Armenian authorities offered last week to swap Ijighulyan for an Azerbaijani soldier who crossed into Armenia and was detained a year ago. There has been no official response to the offer from Azerbaijan yet. -0-