By Vafa Ismayilova
Baku has remanded in custody a Lebanese citizen of Armenian origin on charges of fighting in the 44-day Karabakh war as a mercenary, illegally crossing Azerbaijan's state border and being involved in terrorist activities against the country.
The State Security Service and the Prosecutor-General's Office press services said in a joint statement on May 5 that the security agency's main investigation department ended investigating the participation of Lebanese citizen Viken Eulcekjian and other persons as mercenaries in exchange for material compensation in terrorist activities against Azerbaijani citizens as part of an organized group.
"The investigation established that on September 29, 2020, a citizen of the Lebanese Republic, Beirut resident Viken Abrahamovich Eulcekjian, 42, initially accepted the offer of Ovak Kikiyan, a citizen of the Lebanese Republic, to take part in military operations on Azerbaijan's occupied territories as a mercenary in exchange for a 2,500-dollar material reward. For this purpose, on the same day, together with other persons as part of an organized group, he deliberately crossed Azerbaijan's guarded state border from Armenia's territory outside the checkpoints and arrived in the territory where other mercenaries were stationed," the statement said.
It added that Eulcekjiyan and other militants, recruited as mercenaries for material compensation, also participated in terrorist activities against the Azerbaijani citizens and army, using illegally acquired firearms, ammunition, and their parts.
"By a court decision, a measure of restraint was chosen in the form of arrest. On May 5, 2021, the indictment in the criminal case was confirmed and sent to court for consideration," the statement added.
Eulcekjian is charged under Azerbaijani Criminal Code Articles 114.3 (participation of a mercenary in a military conflict or military operation), 214.2.1 (terrorism committed by a group of persons by prior conspiracy, by an organized group or criminal association (organization)), 318.2 (illegal crossing state border of the Republic of Azerbaijan) and some other articles.
Earlier, senior Azerbaijani officials repeatedly stated that Armenia used the people from Lebanon and Syria as mercenaries during the six-week war in autumn 2020.
The clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan resumed after Armenia launched large-scale attacks on Azerbaijani forces and civilians on September 27.
The trilateral peace deal signed by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders on November 10, 2020, ended the 30-year-old conflict between Baku and Yerevan over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region that along with the seven adjacent regions came under the occupation of Armenian armed forces in the war in the 1990s.
On January 11, 2021, the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders signed the second statement since the end of the 44-day war. The newly-signed statement is set to implement clause 9 of the November 2020 statement related to the unblocking of all economic and transport communications in the region.
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