TAVUSH (RFE/RL)—An Azerbaijani woman was sent back to Azerbaijan and reportedly placed in a psychiatric clinic there on Friday three days after crossing into Armenia in still unclear circumstances.
Her repatriation was announced by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and confirmed by Azerbaijani officials.
“The ICRC, acting as a neutral intermediary, helped the Armenian and Azerbaijani authorities carry out the repatriation,” the Red Cross said in a statement. “ICRC representatives visited the woman before she was sent back to Azerbaijan to assess her treatment and the conditions in which she was being held.”
Armenian authorities said on Tuesday that the woman identified herself as Zohra Veliyeva when she was detained in Armenia’s northern Tavush province. She also claimed to be a resident of Yanixli, a village in Azerbaijan’s Tovuz district bordering Tavush, they said.
The Azerbaijani Turan News Agency afterwards cited Yanixli residents as saying that the woman is known in Tovuz as a fortune teller and has no permanent place of residence. One of the villagers said she is also known for her “inappropriate behavior.”
An Azerbaijani government commission dealing with prisoners of war and civilian captives insisted on Friday, however, that the 39-year-old woman’s real name is Gatiba Alekperova and that she resides in another village located in the Gadabay district southeast of Tovuz.
A commission official told the APA news agency that “given her health condition” Alekberova was taken to a psychiatric hospital in Gazakh, a town near the Armenian border, immediately after her repatriation.
Civilian residents of Armenian and Azerbaijani border villages have occasionally crossed the heavily militarized border between the two warring states by accident. As recently as last November, a 77-year-old Armenia woman from Tavush lost her way and found herself in Azerbaijani territory. She was repatriated four days later.
At least three other Tavush residents strayed into Azerbaijan and were captured there in 2014. Two of them were branded Armenian “saboteurs” by the authorities in Baku and died shortly afterwards.