The Armenian Bar Association sent the following letter to President Barack Obama regarding Ramil Safarov’s extradition and subsequent pardon in Azerbaijan.
Dear President Obama:
Greetings to you on behalf of the Armenian Bar Association, the largest and most diverse group of Armenian-American judges, lawyers, and students who are bound together by the greatest–and often elusive–universal interest, namely justice.
Your life and career have been guided by the North Star of our times, carrying within its glow the promise of enlightenment. These two principles–enlightenment and justice– form the ligament that holds civilized men and women and civilized nations together.
The Executive Committee of the Armenian Bar Association shares your deep concern over Azeri President Ilham Aliyev’s illicit pardon of Azeri Ramil Safarov, who was convicted in Hungarian courts of axing to death an innocent Armenian, Gurgen Margaryan. The painful irony of the crime is that it occurred during a training program in Budapest under the auspices of NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program.
Whereas communicating to Azerbaijan’s authorities your disappointment about the decision to pardon Safarov is welcome news to us, we hope there will be more said and more done by you about the affront to international law and fundamental notions of, simply, what is right and what is wrong.
We ask that you follow your own conscience and sense of justice which have elevated you to the highest office in our land and have led to the support of millions of Americans, including the support of countless Armenian-Americans.
Mr. Aliyev’s decision to pardon Safarov is a repudiation of your and American efforts to bring peace, reduce regional tensions, and promote reconciliation.
This week, as you accept the nomination of the Democratic Party and, as anticipated, share with the nation the importance of the rule of law, and as you remind the world about the United States of America being the champion of freedom and democracy, we ask that you please take a moment to reflect on how those declarations can be reconciled with the current state of friendly relations with the regime in Azerbaijan.
We urge you to let the world see you as the brave leader for whom justice is above and for all.
Very Truly Yours,
Garo B. Ghazarian
Chairman, Board of Governors
Armenian Bar Association
Armen K. Hovannisian
Vicken I. Simonian