Agence France Presse
Aug 31 2012

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is "deeply concerned" over
Azerbaijan's pardon of a soldier who axed an Armenian to death,
the White House said Friday.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev issued an order that killer Ramil
Safarov "should be freed from the term of his punishment" directly
after he arrived earlier on a plane from Budapest, where he had been
serving a life sentence for the 2004 murder.

"President Obama is deeply concerned by today's announcement that the
president of Azerbaijan has pardoned Ramil Safarov following his return
from Hungary," said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor.

"We are communicating to Azerbaijani authorities our disappointment
about the decision to pardon Safarov," Vietor added in a statement.

"This action is contrary to ongoing efforts to reduce regional tensions
and promote reconciliation. The United States is also requesting an
explanation from Hungary regarding its decision to transfer Safarov
to Azerbaijan."

Armenia severed diplomatic links with Hungary after Budapest extradited
the serviceman to Baku and immediately pardoned him there.

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian said he had put his troops on
"high alert" after the incident, which has inflamed tensions between
the enemies who fought a war over the disputed region of Nagorny
Karabakh in the 1990s.

Safarov hacked Armenian officer Gurgen Margarian to death with an
axe at a military academy in Budapest, where the servicemen from the
ex-Soviet neighbor states were attending English-language courses
organised by NATO.

Safarov's lawyers claimed in court that he was traumatized because
some of his relatives were killed during the war with Armenian forces,
and alleged that Margarian had insulted his country.

Armenia-backed separatists seized Nagorny Karabakh from Azerbaijan
in the war that left some 30,000 people dead, and despite years of
negotiations since a 1994 ceasefire, the two sides have not signed
a final peace deal.

Azerbaijan has threatened to take back the region by force if peace
talks do not yield results, while Armenia has vowed massive retaliation
against any military action.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress