Armenia Protests Arrests Of Former Nagorno-Karabakh Leaders

04-10-2023 10:31:10 Caucasus

The Armenian Foreign Ministry has protested the arrests of several former separatist leaders of Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijan after Baku reclaimed control of the ethnic Armenian-populated breakaway region in a lightning military operation last month.

The ministry on October 4 said former de facto leaders of Nagorno-Karabakh -- Arkadi Ghukasian, Bako Sahakian, Arayik Harutiunian, Davit Ishkhanian, Ruben Vardanian, and others -- had been arrested "illegally."

"Despite the dialogue with the representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh, the statements of high-ranking officials of Azerbaijan regarding the willingness to respect and protect the rights of Armenians, not to hinder their return to Nagorno-Karabakh, and on establishment of peace in the region, the law enforcement bodies of Azerbaijan continue arbitrary arrests," a statement said.

It added that Armenia "will take all possible steps to protect the rights of illegally detained representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh, including in international courts."

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry rejected the Armenian statement, saying it "constitutes an attempt to justify the acts committed by those who are now under arrest."

"The arrest of these persons in the process of the criminal investigation initiated under the applicable articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan, regarding the aggression against Azerbaijan, inciting separatism, terrorist acts, crimes against peace and humanity, as well as war crimes and other grave crimes against prisoners of war and civilians, first and foremost serves to restore justice, and to undermine the legitimacy of these actions is completely unacceptable," the Azerbaijani ministry said.

Azerbaijan's State Security Service said on September 29 that it detained Davit Manukian, former deputy commander of the breakaway region's de facto armed forces, on "terrorism" charges. Two days earlier, Azerbaijan arrested Vardanian, the former de facto prime minister of Nagorno-Karabakh.


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