Saturday, 14 February 2015

European MPs Demand Fair Trial for Men Jailed in Armenian-Occupied Nagorno-Karabakh

Members of Parliament from 24 European nations have signed a motion calling for two men jailed by an internationally unrecognised court in Armenian-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh to be given a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The two, Russian citizen Dilgam Asgarov and Azerbaijani citizen Shahbaz Guliyev, were apprehended by the Armenian Army in the Armenian-occupied Kalbajar region of Azerbaijan in June last year and then convicted of murder by a "court of first instance of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic".

The motion, before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, was signed by 46 MPs and calls for their fair trial, given they were convicted in a "Republic" that is an "unrecognised separatist regime", which is not a signatory to any international treaties that "guarantee either human rights or the rule of law".

The 46 signatories include MPs from Ireland, Spain, Italy, Finland, Ukraine and Croatia.

The motion was tabled on February 5th by Azerbaijani PACE delegate Elkhan Suleymanov, who said the two men could only be legally tried by an Azerbaijani court, given the alleged offence took place in internationally-recognised Azerbaijani territory. He said the additional charge of illegally entering Nagorno-Karabakh is void for the same reason.

Asgarov was sentenced to life imprisonment and Guliyev to 22 years. A third man, Hasan Hasanov, was shot dead at the scene.

Suleymanov has questioned the actions of the Armenian Army who, despite answering to Yerevan, chose to hand the men over to the so-called "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic", which has not been recognised by any United Nations member state, including Armenia.

"This is a deliberate action, not a coincidence. The Armenian side wants to insure itself from being involved in any international responsibility by distancing itself from this issue," he said.

Had the men been able to access the Azerbaijani legal system, there would have been no "first instance" court and they would have had the protection of the European Convention on Human Rights, which was signed by Azerbaijan in 2001. At the time Baku warned that "it is unable to guarantee the application of the provisions of the Convention in the territories occupied by the Republic of Armenia until these territories are liberated from that occupation."

That occupation continues to this day, despite numerous resolutions calling for Armenia's immediate withdrawal by the United Nations, European Parliament, the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other international bodies.SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor

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