YEREVAN — Armenia has unexpectedly deported an Azerbaijani prisoner of war to an unpublicized third country just two weeks after offering to swap him for an Armenian soldier who was captured by Azerbaijani troops near Nagorno-Karabakh.

Deputy Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan made the announcement on Friday at a meeting with Lorenzo Caraffi, the Yerevan-based representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

A statement by the Armenian Defense Ministry said Tonoyan asked the ICRC to inform the family of Firuz Farajev that he has been transferred to a “safe, prosperous and democratic country” and already granted a refugee status there. He did not name that country.

Farajev was detained by Armenian troops at a western section of Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan in July 2012. The Armenian military said at the time that the 20-year-old deliberately surrendered to its forces.

The Defense Ministry statement issued on Friday said that Farajev defected because of having been subjected “inhuman tortures and pressures” at his Azerbaijani army unit. It insisted that the soldier made an “unequivocal decision” not to return to Azerbaijan.

The announcement came two weeks after Tonoyan told another Red Cross official in Yerevan that Farajev has “changed his mind and expressed a desire to return to Azerbaijan.” The Armenian military thus expressed readiness to swap him for Hakob Injighulian, an Armenian soldier who crossed into Azerbaijani-controlled territory east of Karabakh on August 8.

The Azerbaijani side never responded to that offer. Instead, Injighulian was again paraded on Azerbaijani television last week, saying that he surrendered to Azerbaijani forces after being ill-treated by one of his commanders. He said he therefore wants to be sent to a third country.

The authorities in Yerevan as well as Injighulian’s family dismissed that statement, saying that the 22-year-old was presented a false version of events under duress. They insist that he crossed the “line of contact” around Karabakh by accident.

Armenian officials argue that international conventions on treatment of POWs forbid any public exposure of captured enemy soldiers. They say the fact that Injighulian wore an Azerbaijani military uniform in his two televised appearance was another gross violation of international law.

Red Cross officials in Baku were allowed to visit Injighulian on August 20.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Get notified of the latest updates from MassisPost.

You May Also Like

The Armenian Side Has Returned All Azerbaijani POWs – MFA

YEREVAN — Armenia has fulfilled its obligations under Article 8 of the…

Armenian, Russian FMs Discuss Regional Security Issues, Bilateral Ties During Moscow Meeting

MOSCOW — Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan met with Russian Foreign Minister…

Myurishen Village to be Mine Free after Crowdfunding Success

In a global first, The HALO Trust, an international non-profit, raised $30,000…

Armenian Peacekeepers to Train in US Military Base in Germany

YEREVAN — More than 100 Armenian soldiers flew to Germany on Wednesday…