Russia Today
Aug 31 2012

Armenia has cut diplomatic ties with Hungary, after Budapest allowed
an Azerbaijani who had been convicted of killing a visiting Armenian
citizen to return to his home country, where he was pardoned.

*"I officially declare that starting today we cease diplomatic
relations and all official ties with Hungary," said Armenian President
Serzh Sargsyan at a meeting with UN ambassadors.

The announcement comes as Budapest permitted Azerbaijani Ramil Safarov
return to Azerbaijan after he was been convicted of murdering and
Armenian in Budapest.

In 2004, Safarov went to Budapest to study English within NATO's
Partnership for Peace program, and while there murdered Armenian
Gurgen Margaryan, who was attending the same course.

Safarov killed Margaryan with an ax as he slept.

In his initial testimony, Safarov explained that in 1993, when Armenia
occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, the majority ethnic Armenian region of
Azerbaijan where he was born, members of his family were killed in
the resulting military conflict. The implication was that Safarov
killed Margaryan to avenge his relatives.

Later, however, the murderer changed his words, claiming
miscommunication between him and his interpreters. In a later,
revised version of his testimony, Safarov insisted that Margaryan
had insulted Azerbaijan's national flag.

The trial was held in Budapest in 2006, and an Hungarian court
sentenced Safarov to life in prison without the right to appeal for
pardon for 30 years.

Accompanied by a police official (L) and an interpretor (R),
Azerbaijani army officier Lieutenant Ramil Safarov (C) listens to
the verdict.(AFP Photo / Attila Kisbenedek)

On Friday, however, in accordance with the Strasbourg Convention
on the transfer of sentenced persons, Safarov was extradited to his
home country.

On the same day, he was pardoned by Azerbaijani president Ilham
Aliyev. This was despite Baku's assurances that the convict would
not be released earlier than 2037.

Azerbaijani television showed Safarov smiling as he walked through a
crowd of his supporters, his shoulders covered with the Azerbaijani
flag, and a bouquet of roses in his hands.

President Sargsyan explicitly accused Hungarian authorities of
collusion with Azerbaijani authorities.

"The Hungarian authorities have to understand that they made a big
mistake. They, actually, made a deal with Azerbaijani authorities,"
he said.

A demonstration took place in front of the Hungarian Consulate in
Yerevan following the news. Demonstrators held banners reading "Shame
on Hungary" and "We demand justice."

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has seriously complicated relations
between the neighboring Caucasus states. First as Soviet republics and
then as independent nations, Armenia and Azerbaijan fought over the
area from 1988 till 1994. Despite ongoing discussions between the two
countries, with Russia acting as an active mediator, they still have
not reached a formal solution to the dispute. Currently the territory
is ruled by the local government, which receives backing from Yerevan.