Armenians link Azeri pressure group's conviction to likely Karabakh settlement

Yeni Musavat, Baku
31 Aug 04

Hardly had the Azerbaijani public got a chance to react to the [30
August] court ruling sentencing KLO [Karabakh Liberation Organization]
members [to prison terms for 22 June protests against Armenians'
participation in a NATO conference in Baku], when Armenians began to
express their own attitude.

Yesterday [30 August] correspondents from the Armenian unit of the
Kavkaz news agency addressed their questions to the director of the
[Azerbaijani] Institute for Peace and Democracy, Leyla Yunus, about
the court ruling. Leyla xanim [form of address] told our newspaper
that the Armenian journalists' questions implied that a tough and
firm ruling had been applied to the KLO members.

Yunus said that the Armenians asked her three questions. [Passage
omitted: the first question concerned Yunus's reaction to the ruling.]

The Armenians noted that similar pickets were staged in their country
as well. However, Armenian courts do not impose harsh punishments on
such protesters. In their second question, the Armenians showed an
interest in the Azerbaijani public reaction to the ruling.

Finally, the most interesting question was the third one which went as
follows: "Do you think that the reason behind such a harsh sentence is
the Azerbaijani government's intention to compromise on the Karabakh
issue, to learn the Azerbaijani public's reaction to the issue from
now on and to ruthlessly punish the people?"

Yunus said she had not yet answered the questions. Instead,
she commented on the court ruling on the KLO members. "The
current Azerbaijani government is not capable of resolving the
Karabakh problem. They do not even have a concept on the conflict
settlement. The government, the pro-government mass media and even the
ombudsman described [Ramil] Safarov who killed an Armenian officer
during NATO exercises in Hungary almost as a hero and supported
him. Neither Hungarian, Russian nor Armenian court examined the case
of the KLO members. That was the Azerbaijani court which issued such
unfair ruling on the people one of whom is blind and the others have
been displaced from their lands by Armenians."

[Passage omitted: reported details]