By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijan State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons offered a beneficial proposal both for Azerbaijan and Armenia, the two parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
In April 2016, Azerbaijan proposed to Armenia the release of prisoners held by the sides according to the “all for all” exchange, as well as those taken prisoner or hostages in the future, including returning the bodies of the dead, no later than three days, through the mediation of relevant international organizations.
However, according to recent media reports, the Armenian side said that Azerbaijan is not ready to exchange Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyevhostages - who were taken hostages in the occupied Kalbajar region in 2014 and illegally convicted - for Armenian citizens and military personnel Karen Ghazaryan, arrested for terrorist and provocative acts in the territory of Azerbaijan, as well as Araik Ghazaryan, who voluntarily surrendered to the Azerbaijani army in the Fuzuli direction of the front.
The Commission once again declares that during the meetings of the Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders through the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, as well as the ministers of foreign affairs and during the discussions held by the Commission in 2017 and 2018 with relevant international organizations, it repeatedly expressed its principle position in connection with exchange of prisoners and hostages in the "all for all" format.
The State Commission once again officially informed international organizations about the readiness to exchange Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev for Karen Ghazaryan and Araik Ghazaryan on September 11, 2019.
The Commission reiterates Azerbaijan always complies with the norms and principles of international humanitarian law. It once again declares that the Commission is a supporter of the release of Azerbaijani and Armenian prisoners of war in the short term on the exceptional humanity principle and an act of humanism.
Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev have been kept hostage by Armenian militaries in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan for more than four years already. They 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 armed forces killed the third Azerbaijani Hasan Hasanov.
Later, Guliyev and Asgarov were judged illegally by the unrecognized courts of the separatist regime in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. Following an expedited “judicial process” in December 2015, Asgarov was sentenced to life imprisonment and Guliyev to 22 years in prison
As a result of the Armenian aggression, 20 percentage of the territory of Azerbaijan were occupied; over 20,000 people were killed, and more than 50 000 people were wounded and disabled.
Over 20 years, more than one million people have been forced living as a refugee. These people have been the victims of the policy of ethnic cleansing, and genocide of Armenia, they have been deprived of basic human rights.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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