Trials of Armenian captives in Azerbaijan forgery, Human Rights Defender says

The trials of Armenian captives by the Azerbaijani authorities are artificial and serve as a veil for the outside world, as a “justification” for the refusal to release the captives, Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan said in a statement.

The Azerbaijani authorities ignored the mandatory humanitarian demand for the immediate return of the captives from the very beginning. Instead, they were engaged in political bargaining and human trafficking, for example, in the case of exchanging people held hostage for maps of minefields. The Human Rights Defender has published an indisputable proof of this fact – the video of the conversation between the President of Azerbaijan and the First Lady of Turkey,” Tatoyan said in a statement.

According to him, the trials are based on the “confessional testimonies” of the captives and it is done in the conditions when the life of the captives is under real daily threat, and the absolute prohibition of inhuman treatment is grossly violated.

“Provocation of hostility at the state level continues. This practice is substantiated in the ombudsman’s special report on gross violations of international law. In such circumstances, it is useless to speak about a fair trial or any other right.
The demonstrative coverage of the trials by the Azerbaijani authorities in ways that violate human dignity is condemnable. This coverage brings about calls to torture and kill the captives and provokes hatred (evidence is documented),” the Ombudsman said.

“Ongoing complaints and alerts to the Human Rights Defender from the families of prisoners and missing persons clearly show that trials cause additional mental suffering and pain. Finally, we must not forget the fundamental fact that they were taken captive within the framework of the Artsakh conflict, which is not over yet. In other words, all servicemen and civilians held in Azerbaijan are captives from the beginning,” Arman Tatoyan said.

Consequently, he said, any trial is a forgery from the beginning, a veil created in gross violation of international law to legitimize them in some way, and the detention of prisoners is a prohibited punishment. This situation grossly violates international human rights requirements, including the 1949 Geneva Convention.

“All this should be taken into account by everyone, including the Armenian professional circles. The Human Rights Defender once again draws the attention of the international community to these facts – the behavior of the Azerbaijani authorities, which grossly violates the foundations of international law, undermines the system of international humanitarian law developed for decades. This statement with the necessary evidence will be sent to all structures,” the Human Rights Defender said.

He emphasized that all captives must be released immediately and returned to their homeland without any preconditions.

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