March 31 2010

Azerbaijani Ombudsman Elmira Suleymanova raised the issue of
returning Azerbaijani captives and hostages captured by Armenia at
the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Suleymanova paid a working visit to Geneva March 22-27 upon the
invitation of the UNHCR, the ombudsman's press officer told Trend
News today.

During the visit, the ombudsman met with ICRC Eastern Europe and
Central Asia Operations head Pascale Wagner.

Suleymanova asked Wagner to assist in returning home Azerbaijani
captives and hostages captured by Armenia, as well as to address the
request to ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger.

During the meeting, the ombudsman provided extensive information
about how one-fifth of the country has been occupied as a result of
Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan in 1988. Armenians massacred
civilians and thousands of Azerbaijanis were taken hostage.

Suleymanova has brought to the attention of the ICRC representative
that Azerbaijani soldiers Hasanov Rafig (captured Oct. 8, 2008 near
the Kamarli village in Gazakh), Anar Hajiyev (captured May 10, 2009
near the Fizuli region), as well as civilian Eldar Tagiyev (captured
Dec. 28, 2009 near the Alibeyli village in Tovuz) have not yet been

Taking into account the severe psychological state of their relatives,
Suleymanova noted the need for these individual to correspond with
their families.

Wagner said ICRC regional offices have visited the prisoners and
hostages, and are monitoring the status and conditions of their
detention. The ICRC representative promised to take into account the
Azerbaijani ombudsman's request.