YEREVAN — One of the two Azerbaijani soldiers detained in Armenia in April was convicted of killing an Armenian man and sentenced to 20 years in prison on Wednesday.
The 56-year-old victim, Hayrapet Meliksetyan worked as a security guard at a waste disposal facility of Armenia’s largest mining company located in southeastern Syunik province. He was found shot dead on April 12 several kilometers from where the Azerbaijani soldier, Huseyn Akhundov, was caught the following day.
Armenian prosecutors say that Akhundov committed the murder in a failed attempt to steal the guard’s car and flee to neighboring Iran. They say that the car did not start and Akhundov fled the scene before using Melisetyan’s mobile phone to record a video in which he bragged about killing Armenians.
The video posted on social media was widely circulated by Armenian media outlets shortly after several Syunik residents apprehended Akhundov on a highway near the provincial capital Kapan. He was apparently unarmed during his detention.
Akhundov pleaded guilty to the murder accusation when he went on trial in Kapan on June 9. A local court also found him guilty of illegally crossing the Armenian border and smuggling weapons — charges that were also leveled against Agshin Bebirov, the other Azerbaijani soldier who crossed into Armenia from Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave together with Akhundov.
Bebirov was detained on April 10 in Ashotavan, a Syunik village located about 100 kilometers northwest of Kapan. Another Armenian court sentenced him to 11.5 years in prison in May.