ARMENPRESS. The murder of Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan in Budapest – coupled with the subsequent development – proves the racist nature of Azerbaijan. The decision to pardon the perpetrator paved way to impunity, while the move grant him privileges was conditioned by a crime on ethnic grounds. All these issues are stated in the appeal submitted to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
On the anniversary of the tragic event, an MP from the ruling My Step faction in parliament Tatev Hayrapetyan (who specializes in Azerbaijani studies), and a Yerevan-based attorney, Siranuysh Sahakyan, gave an interview to Armenpress, elaborating on the topic.
“The tragic murder of Gurgen Margaryan – and the subsequent actions – clearly show what country we are dealing with. All the actions by Azerbaijan prove, yet another time, that country’s militaristic, xenophobic and racist nature”, Hayrapetyan said.
She added Armenia never misses the chance to raise the issue on all international platforms “on the level of its leaders, parliamentar and NGOs. The prime minister recently addressed the topic again at a meeting at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Berlin. ”
“Gurgen Margaryan’s assassination was committed at the center of Europe several years ago. We must continue talking not only about this tragedy but also the other cases to demonstrate Azerbaijan’s true character. Both the electoral frauds and Azerbaijan’s belligerent rhetoric and hostilities rule out a return to the past”, Hayrapetyan said, pointing out to Azerbaijan’s distinctively racist and anti-Armenian polciies continuing also today.
Siranusyh Sahakyan, who represents the interests of Margaryan’s successors at the European court, elaborated on details pertaining to the case, emphasizing that the process is in a conclusive phase now. She said that the judgeement is due in March. The ECHR case is against Hungary and Azerbaijan.
“With regard to Azerbaijan, we have asked the Court to record a violation of the right to life. The appeal says that Azerbaijan has ensured impunity by pardoning the criminal. We have also posed questions saying that giving pardoning and giving privileges to the criminal was conditioned by a murder on ethnic grounds. That’s a very important point as it might enable us to achieve the declaration, by an international tribunal, of a fact reflecting an an anti-Armenian discrimination, pointing out to Azerbaijan’s responsibility as a state,” she said, promising to pursue the implementation of the verdict by the Hungarian court to return the Azerbaijani officer to the country to serve his sentence.
On January 11, 2004, Gurgen Margaryan left for Budapest, Hungary, to participate in a three-month English language course which was part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. On February 19 he was axed, while asleep, by his fellow Azerbaijani participant, Lieutenant Ramil Safarov. The murder took place at 5 am, while the victim was asleep.
Safarov, who was sentenced to life imprisonment, was transferred back to his home country on August 31, 2012 under an extradition agreement. Although Azerbaijan formally pledged that the life sentence handed down to him in Hungary would be directly continued when he was returned to his homeland, the Azerbaijani president granted him a pardon and formally recognized him as a “national hero” upon his arrival.