California Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has expressed her outrage over Azerbaijan’s pardon, promotion and praise for convicted axe-murderer Ramil Safarov, and called for his immediate re-incarceration, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
In a strongly worded letter to President Aliyev, Senator Boxer stressed that Safarov’s release is “deeply disturbing and provocative action has only served to inflame tensions and endanger efforts to forge a lasting peace in the Caucasus.” Calling the Safarov’s pardon a “blatant disregard for the rule of law,” she went on to demand that Aliyev “adhere to the standards of the international law by returning Mr. Safarov to jail, where he belongs, for the heinous crime that he committed.” The complete text of the letter is provided below.
The letter comes amid the Aliyev Administration’s continuing glorification of Safarov, who axed to death Armenian military lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan, in his sleep, during a 2004 NATO sponsored language training exercise in Hungary. Safarov, who was extradited by Hungary to Baku on August 31st, was immediately pardoned, promoted from the rank of lieutenant to major, reimbursed 8 years of back pay, and provided a new apartment as a reward for committing this heinous anti-Armenian hate crime. According to news reports, Safarov will soon resume active Azerbaijani military service. Meanwhile Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian aggression continued this week with a sniper attack leaving 19-year-old soldier Vaghinag Baghdasarian dead.
With her statement, Senator Boxer has joined a diverse group of U.S. leaders from the Obama Administration, State Department and Congress in condemning President Aliyev’s release of Safarov.
The full text of U.S Senator Barbara Boxer’s letter to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is provided below:
“I write today to express my outrage regarding your decision to release and pardon Ramil Safarov, an Azeri soldier who had been sentenced to life in prison for the vicious murder of an Armenian soldier. This deeply disturbing and provocative action has only served to inflame tensions and endanger efforts to forge a lasting peace in the Caucasus.
As you know, Mr. Safarov was convicted of the brutal axe murder of an Armenian soldier and fellow trainee at a NATO language course in 2004 and had been serving a life sentence in Hungary. On August 21, 2012, Mr. Safarov was extradited to Azerbaijan after Hungary received assurances that his sentence would be enforced.
The pardon of Mr. Safarov upon his return to Azerbaijan represents a blatant disregard for the rule of law. This decision, coupled with the hero’s welcome Mr. Safarov received, is an affront to the most basic principles of justice and human rights.
As such, I strongly urge you to reconsider your decision to free Mr. Safarov and adhere to the standards of the international law by returning Mr. Safarov to jail, where he belongs, for the heinous crime that he committed.”