By Vafa Ismayilova
Azerbaijan has arrested a Lebanese citizen of Armenian origin on terror-related charges, Trend reported on June 8.
Under a court ruling, an arrest was chosen as a measure of restraint against Viken Eulcekcian (Eulcekjian), who had earlier been remanded in custody 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.
Thanks to the video footage, presented by (defendant) Maral Nazaryan to Azerbaijan's investigative agencies in a trial in Baku on June 8, it has been established that Eulcekcian was offered $2,000-2,500 to participate in hostilities against Azerbaijan in the last year's war.
During the court session, Nazaryan, who illegally lived with Eulcekcian, testified that the defendant had fought against Azerbaijanis in the Nagorno-Karabakh region for money.
“We arrived with Eulcekcian from Beirut to Armenia. Later we were accommodated in a hotel in Shusha. In those days, he spoke on the phone with a Lebanese citizen named Hovak, who offered him $2,000-2,500 and a salary for his participation in the hostilities. Viken agreed,” Nazaryan said.
Nazaryan added that she had told Eulcekcian that the aforesaid fact will create problems for him as he was not an Armenian citizen. She noted that they wanted to return to Lebanon, but failed due to the pandemic. Before the second Nagorno-Karabakh war, the two wanted to go to Lebanon, but Viken was not allowed to cross the border as his documents had been incorrectly formalized.
"I left for Lebanon and after a while was forced to return to Armenia... After the outbreak of hostilities, Viken left to fight, then returned three or four days later, said that the Azerbaijanis are very strong, all the mercenaries were killed, and he managed to escape... Then we arrived in Lachin. On November 10, we heard that the war was over. When we came to pick up our things from the hotel in Shusha, we were detained by the Azerbaijani military. This happened after they saw the photos on Viken's phone,” she added.
Eulcekcian initially disagreed with Nazaryan's testimony. But he was shown photographs and video recordings on which he was in the trenches. Afterward, he agreed with the testimony, alleging that he had just photographed in the trenches, but did not fight.
Thus, the State Security Service investigation department's criminal investigation into the participation of Eulcekcian and others in an organized group as mercenaries as part of the Armenian armed forces against Azerbaijani citizens in exchange for material reward has completed.
The investigation was conducted under Azerbaijan's relevant Criminal Code articles.
The investigation revealed that Lebanon citizen and Beirut resident Eulcekcian, 42, initially accepted the offer on September 29, 2020, to take part in military operations as a mercenary in the de-occupied territories of Azerbaijan in exchange for $2,500.
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.
Eulcekcian and other mercenaries also took part in terrorist activities against Azerbaijani citizens and the army, using firearms, ammunition, and spare parts illegally obtained as a result of the persecution of armed groups, not provided for by the legislation of Azerbaijan.
Eulcekcian faced charges under Criminal Code Articles 114.3 (participation of a mercenary in a military conflict or military operation), 214.2.1 (terrorism by a group of persons, organized group, or criminal organization), 318.2 (illegal crossing of the state border of Azerbaijan).
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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