U.S. President Barack Obama expressed "deep concern" about the fact of pardon of Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov, convicted earlier in Hungary, the press service of the White House said.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed an order on Friday pardoning a citizen of Azerbaijan Ramil Safarov, born in 1977, who was sentenced by the decision dated April 13, 2006 of the Court of Budapest (Hungary) to life imprisonment.
This order shall enter into force on the date of publication.
Ramil Safarov was born on August 25, 1977 in Jabrail region of Azerbaijan. Safarov, 34, who participated in NATO exercises in 2004 in Hungary, was charged with the murder of the Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan, who insulted the Azerbaijani flag. By the verdict of the Budapest court, Safarov was sentenced to life imprisonment without the right of pardon during 30 years.
"Ramil Safarov, a native of the Jabrail region occupied by the Armenians, is an IDP. He lost a lot of close friends, and these tragedies took place before his eyes, ran into his childhood memories. One can imagine the emotional state of a person who lived through all these tragedies as a child, as a result of permanent provocations against him by the Armenian officers, insults to the flag and the people of Azerbaijan at NATO exercises in which he participated as an officer of the Azerbaijani army," the representative of the Presidential Administration said.
Alasgarov noted that Safarov's lawyers during the trial repeatedly petitioned for violation of his right to defense. Thus, in the course of the investigation, his testimony was taken in Russian, which he knew not well, during the preliminary hearing the officer was not provided with a lawyer, and the indictment was presented in the Turkish language. The lawyers filed complaints and petitions regarding other serious procedural violations as well.
Alasgarov said under the provisions of the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, any country that is a party to the agreement may apply amnesty or reduce sentences, in accordance with its constitution or other legislation pardon extradited person.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.