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ICRC visits Azerbaijani hostages in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh

21 June 2017 17:12 (UTC+04:00)
ICRC visits Azerbaijani hostages in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh

By Rashid Shirinov

Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have visited Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev, two Azerbaijanis, who are kept hostages by Armenian forces in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Spokeswoman for the ICRC Baku office Ilaha Huseynova told APA on June 21 that the hostages were provided with an opportunity to exchange news with their families. The visit was conducted in line with the standard ICRC procedures.

Huseynova noted that the ICRC, in accordance with its mandate, visits the hostages to check their detention conditions and treatment, as well as to help the hostages communicate with their families.

Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev were detained by the Armenian armed forces in July 2014 while visiting their native places and graves of loved ones in the occupied Azerbaijani Kalbajar region. Moreover, Armenian forces killed the third captivated Azerbaijani, Hasan Hasanov.

Later, Guliyev and Asgarov were judged illegally by the unrecognized courts of a separatist regime in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. Following an expedited “judicial process” in December 2015, Asgarov was sentenced to life imprisonment and Guliyev to 22 years. Attempts of Azerbaijan to provide justice and to free the hostages are still unsuccessful.

Azerbaijan’s State Committee on Affairs of Refugees and IDPs, the State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons and other agencies have repeatedly urged international organizations, including the ICRC, to assist in release of Guliyev and Asgarov, whilst the problem remains topical yet.

Moreover, Armenian armed forces took hostage an Azerbaijani citizen Elnur Huseynzade under unknown circumstances in the direction of Talysh village in February this year.

Azerbaijan, whose over 4,000 citizens were taken captive, hostage, or went missing as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh war, has repeatedly declared its readiness to begin negotiations with Armenia to free the captives and resolve the long-standing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

However, the Armenian side keeps ignoring all attempts of Azerbaijan and international organizations, thereby disrespecting the international law and hindering the settlement of the conflict.

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Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov

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