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Justice for Khojaly photo exhibition underway in Acre

15 January 2014 [15:45] - TODAY.AZ
By AzerNews

A mobile documentary photo exhibition that reflects the massacre committed against Azerbaijanis by Armenians during the 1990s war in the town of Khojaly opened in the ancient city of Acre in northern Israel.

Called "Justice for Khojaly", the exhibition was held at the municipality of Acre city, where a large community of people from Azerbaijan lives.

Opening the event, Director of the Azerbaijan Cultural Center under Israel-Azerbaijan international association (AZIZ) Yegana Salman said the photographs depicting the tragic events in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly in February 1992 clearly show the horrors of that night, when Armenian bands slaughtered hundreds of innocent civilians, to the Israelis.

Visitors to the exhibition could hardly believe that the photos reflected the events of the recent past, since they reminded them of the Holocaust.

Salman said AZIZ calls on Israeli people and all the nations of the world to condemn the crimes of the Armenian occupation and prevent the recurrence of such acts, no matter where on earth it happens.

Acre Mayor Shimon Lankri expressed his deep sorrow and indignation at those terrible events.

"The photo exhibition dedicated to the massacre in Khojaly has shocked me. I am shocked," he said, expressing hope that the occupied Azerbaijani territories will soon be released and Azerbaijani refugees will be able to return to their homes.

Lankri also spoke about the role of Azerbaijani immigrants in the cultural and social life of the city, adding that a building of the Cultural Centre of Mountain Jews will be constructed in order to expand opportunities for community development.

In turn, head of the Mountain Jews community of Acre Shirin Nehemiah Michaeli addressed the audience in Hebrew and Azerbaijani, and thanked the organizers of the exhibition.

He also said the Jews of Azerbaijan have retained the love and the best memories of their homeland, where they lived in peace and prosperity.

Michaeli drew attention to the progressive peace policy pursued by Azerbaijan, headed by President Ilham Aliyev, and wished peace for Azerbaijani people.

Arye Gut, AZIZ board member and an expert in international relations spoke about the tragic events in Khojaly in February 1992 and Armenia's aggressive policy against Azerbaijan.

"Civilians were shot at point blank range, scalped, and burned alive. Some had their eyes pulled out, others were beheaded. We remember how it happened, and we have no right to forget the bloody massacre in Khojaly, which was a manifestation of brutality and vandalism," Gut said.

He said Khojaly was one of the stages of the policy of ethnic cleansing carried out by Armenia in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

"There is no explanation for the barbaric cruelty against innocent children, women, and the elderly. This terrible tragedy must never be forgotten. Azerbaijani civilians were dealt with cruelly just because they were Azerbaijanis," Gut stressed.

Late into the night of February 25, 1992, the town of Khojaly, situated within the administrative borders of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, came under intensive fire from the towns of Khankendi and Askeran already occupied by Armenian armed forces. The Armenian forces, supported by the ex-Soviet 366th regiment, completed the surrounding of the town already isolated due to ethnic cleansing of the Azerbaijani population of the neighboring regions. The joint forces occupied the town, which was ruined by heavy artillery shelling.

Thousands of fleeing civilians were ambushed by the Armenian forces. Punitive teams of the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh defense army reached the unprotected civilians to slaughter them, mutilating some of the bodies. 613 civilians, including 106 women, 70 elderly and 83 children, were killed in the massacre. A total of 1,000 civilians were disabled. Eight families were exterminated, and 25 children lost both parents, while 130 children lost one parent. Moreover, 1,275 innocent people were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 remains unknown.

The legislative bodies of many countries have adopted resolutions recognizing the crime committed by Armenians against the peaceful people in Khojali as a genocide.

The parliaments of Pakistan, Mexico, Colombia, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Jordan, as well as legislative bodies of about 20 states of the Unites States, including Texas, New-Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Western Virginia, New-Jersey and Tennessee are adopted relevant documents..

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) adopted a final Cairo Communiqué in February 2013, in the summit held in Egypt's capital, naming the Khojaly tragedy as genocide against humanity. The Communiqué calls on the international community to recognize the genocide.

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