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Going Astray: Two Armenians Become Captives In Azerbaijan After Cros

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  • Going Astray: Two Armenians Become Captives In Azerbaijan After Cros

    NEWS | 20.03.13 | 15:25


    ArmeniaNow reporter

    Negotiations are underway over the repatriation of two Armenian
    citizens who crossed the border into Azerbaijan a few days ago and
    were apprehended by Azerbaijani armed forces.

    The incident happened in the borderlands of the northeastern province
    of Tavush last weekend.

    Armen Kaprielyan, who heads the working group affiliated with the
    Commission on Captives, Hostages and Missing Persons, told ArmeniaNow
    that on March 19 the Azerbaijani side officially confirmed that two
    Armenian citizens, identified as resident of the Noyemberyan area
    Durmush Karyan and resident of the village of Aygehovit, Ijevan area,
    Anahit Arakelyan - crossed the border on March 16 and 17, respectively,
    and were now being held in Azerbaijan.

    "They are ordinary villagers. I can confidently say that both of
    them lost their way by mistaking the path. The man, according to
    preliminary information, was going after his stray cattle, which is the
    most frequent reason for which residents of borderlands inadvertently
    cross the border," said Kaprielyan, adding that the Armenian side at
    this point has taken all measures for the safe return of the citizens.

    According to Azeri media reports, the Baku office of the International
    Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) released information according
    to which the state commission that deals with captives and missing
    persons in Azerbaijan had turned to the organization suggesting that
    the two persons be repatriated to Armenia. The ICRC Office in Armenia
    could not verify and confirm this information to ArmeniaNow as of
    Wednesday afternoon.

    This is not the first case when citizens of Armenia cross the
    militarized but sparsely protected border in northeastern Armenia and
    become hostages in Azerbaijan. Kaprielyan reminds of the 2009 case of
    Artur Badalyan, who went astray while picking mushrooms. The Armenian
    side suspected a kidnapping by Azeri commandoes, but Baku for more
    than a year denied holding the man before admitting it in late 2010.

    Badalyan was returned to Armenia in March 2011.

    Another incident involving an Armenian captive had a tragic end. In
    September 2010, 20-year-old resident of Ttujur village in the
    Gegharkunik province of Armenia Manvel Saribekyan, while looking for
    his stray cattle, himself strayed into Azerbaijani territory and was
    taken prisoner by Azeri forces and accused of being a saboteur planning
    to blow up a school in Azerbaijan. According to the Defense Ministry of
    Azerbaijan, Saribekyan committed suicide in a Baku jail a month later.

    Authorities in Yerevan, however, insisted that Saribekyan wasn't
    a trained saboteur and did not commit suicide in anticipation of
    repatriation but was murdered in jail. An expert examination conducted
    on Saribekyan's body returned to the Armenian side reportedly revealed
    injuries that could have been caused by torture. Saribekyan's family
    are going to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights soon.

    Kaprielyan said that according to their information at this point
    there are 90 Armenians kept in Azerbaijan as captives. But Azerbaijan
    confirms only the presence of a five-member Armenian family that
    deliberately crossed the border into Nakhijevan in 2010.

    From: Baghdasarian