YEREVAN — A five-member Azerbaijani family has asked authorities in Armenia to grant them political asylum, claiming persecution by security services at home, Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) said on Friday.

In a statement the NSS unveiled some details of the case, in particular, suggesting that 37-year-old citizen of Azerbaijan Javid Orujev, his wife and three children applied to the Armenian side at the Bagratashen checkpoint at the Armenian-Georgian border on January 29.

According to the NSS, Orujev was under pressure from Azerbaijan’s special services ever after marrying a Baku resident of Armenian origin. In particular, he had been forced into trying to obtain data about Armenia and its Diaspora through the relatives of his ethnic Armenian wife, identified as 30-year-old Roya Mirzoyeva, and for that purpose he also unsuccessfully tried to become a resident of a European country.

It is also reported that at present, the UN Yerevan office and the State Migration Service of Armenia are dealing with the matter.

There was no official reaction from Baku as of Friday afternoon.

This case comes amid a row over a 77-year-old Armenian civilian who is being held in Azerbaijan as a ‘saboteur’ after apparently straying into enemy territory in the borderland where he lives. The family of Mamikon Khojoyan and his fellow villagers say he suffers from a mental disorder and must have lost his way when going to his vineyard not far from the volatile border with Azerbaijan in the northeast of Armenia.

Military authorities in Baku insist, however, that Khojoyan acted as a guide for Armenian troops planning to carry out a cross-border incursion. Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry claimed earlier that Khojoyan was wounded and detained on Tuesday after Azerbaijani forces repelled the “sabotage-reconnaissance group.” Some Azerbaijani news reports said, however, that the resident of Verin Karmiraghbyur, a village northeastern Armenia, was in fact detained by Azerbaijani villagers and handed over to military authorities.

The Armenian Defense Ministry has laughed off official Baku’s claims.

Khojoyan was paraded on Azerbaijani television on Thursday. He was shown sitting on what looked like a hospital bed, with his right arm in a cast, and talking to the ANS channel. “I broke my arm but I’m fine now,” he was quoted as saying. “My arm is now healing. They are taking good care of me.”

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