Vagif Khachatryan, who in July was kidnapped by Azerbaijani border guards during his evacuation from Artsakh by the International Committee of the Red Cross, appeared in a Baku court for a preliminary hearing to face fabricated charged.
The 68-year-old Khachatryan was placed under arrest soon after his abduction and was remanded into custody facing bogus charges of terrorism.
The hearing will continue on October 17, Azerbaijani sources reported.
Armenia’s Foreign Ministry said the trial was a “show of complete disregard for any norms in Baku.”
Foreign ministry spokesperson Siranush Badakyan called the legal proceedings in Baku a “Sham Trial.”
Badalyan said in a post on X that the trial is a “show of complete disregard of any norms in Baku against Armenian civilian, 68-year-old resident of Nagorno Karabakh who under ICRC’s protection was being transported to Armenia for heart surgery and was abducted at the illegal checkpoint weeks before the ethnic cleansing in Nagorno Karabakh.”
“Illegal abduction, in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, is now followed by publication of videos and photos showing the suffering of the 68-year-old civilian. As requested by numerous international human rights organizations and institutions, Armenian POWs and civilians that are still being kept hostage in Baku should be released,” Badalyan added.
Armenia’s Ambassador At-Large Edmon Marukyan said Khachatryan’s trial was a “mockery of European conventions” and lambasted the Azerbaijani “kangaroo court.”
In a post on X, Marukyan called on Azerbaijan to stop such actions that degrade people’s fundamental freedoms and human dignity and release all prisoners from Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh immediately.
Marukyan said that all existing proceedings in Azerbaijan are a farce, a mockery of the European Convention and a violation of all universally accepted international norms in the context of all obligations undertaken by Azerbaijan itself.
“The trial of Vagif Khachatryan, abducted from Nagorno Karabakh, has started in Azerbaijan today. He, of course, has nothing to do with the crime, he is merely punished for being born in Nagorno Karabagh and for living on his ancestral land. I want to make this very clear, in Azerbaijan, where the government has not changed for more than 20 years, during which 5 presidents were elected in Nagorno-Karabakh, which Freedom House rated as partially free with 37 score by all indicators, and Azerbaijan – Not Free, with 9 scores, there cannot be a fair trial, fair court and/or fair accusation. All existing proceedings are a farce, a mockery of the European Convention and a violation of all universally accepted international norms in the context of all obligations undertaken by Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan must end the treatments that degrade people’s fundamental freedoms and human dignity and release all prisoners from Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh immediately. P. S. In the video you can see a crying man in the fake court hearing,” Marukyan said on X.
At the time of Khachatryan’s kidnapping and subsequent arrest in July, Armenia’s foreign ministry said that the act amounts to war crime.
Prominent attorney Siranush Sahakyan said at the time of Khachatryan’s arrest that the kidnapping constituted extraordinary rendition in terms of international law and a due process is therefore ruled out.
Khachatryan’s daughter appealed to the United Nations to ensure the safe release of her father and said that all charges pressed by Azerbaijan’s prosecutors were fabricated.