STEPANAKERT — An Azerbaijani teenager was released from custody and repatriated on Thursday one week after crossing into Nagorno-Karabakh for still unclear reasons.

A Karabakh commission dealing with prisoners of war and civilian captives said the 15-year-old Javid Mammadov was sent back home through the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around the NKR territory. The commission said field representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) assisted in the handover described by it as a gesture of good will.

“The authorities of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, displaying good will and commitment to the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, with the assistance of the Stepanakert Office of the International Committee for the Red Cross, handed over to representatives of the Republic of Azerbaijan underage resident of Mir-Bashir town Muzafarzade Javid Samir oglu, born in 1999, who crossed independently the NKR border in the Martakert region on September 5, 2014, and was detained by the corresponding services of the NKR,” the commission statement reads.

ICRC sources in Baku cited by Azerbaijani news agencies confirmed the information. They said Mammadov assured Red Cross officials in Stepanakert before the repatriation that he wants to return home.

According to the Azerbaijani media, Mammadov is a resident of the Terter district located just northeast of Karabakh. His father is said to be a deputy chief of the local traffic police.

Residents of Armenian and Azerbaijani border settlements periodically cross the heavily fortified “line of contact” and the internationally recognized Armenian-Azerbaijani border in disputed circumstances. At least four Armenian civilians have ended up in Azerbaijani territory so far this year.

One of them, the 33-year-old Karen Petrosian, was pronounced dead on August 8 the day after being detained in an Azerbaijani village across the cross. The Azerbaijani military claimed that he died of “acute heart failure.” The Armenian government believes, however, that Petrosian was murdered or beaten to death.

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