PRAGUE (Panorama.am)—On Feb. 26, the Azerbaijani Embassy in the Czech Republic attempted to conduct a public event in Prague in which members of the Embassy set up tents at one of Prague’s popular city squares as information booths titled, “The Past and Present of Azerbaijan.”
As representatives from the Armenian community of the Czech Republic told Panorama.am, it came as no surprise that the “information booths” were distributing propaganda material that was anti-Armenian and racist in nature. The day was not chosen at random, being the day that Armenians commemorate the Sumgait and other pogroms that took place in Azerbaijan against Armenians before and during the Karabakh war. It was also no surprise to the Armenian community that the Azeri tents were actively presenting Baku’s version of events that took place in Aghdam in 1992.
The event caused anger among a group of locals who approached the tents and called to stop the promotion of racism in Prague. As a result, the Azerbaijanis were forced to remove their anti-Armenian materials, remaining at their booths with only the pastries and tea they offered passers-by.
Last year, the anti-Armenian event held by the Azeri Embassy in the Czech Republic was also thwarted. Then, representatives of the Armenian community entered the Azeri tents and distributed their own leaflets.
On Feb. 26, 1992, during the war in Karabakh, around 200 to 300 people according to Human Rights Watch — and 600 according to the version propagated by Azerbaijan — were killed in unknown circumstances near the city of Aghdam. Azeri accounts of the event have been deliberately withheld by the Azerbaijani authorities in the name of military confidentiality. The population of the village of Khojaly — which was one of the firing points from which Azeri forces were shooting at civilians in the blockaded Stepanakert (among five other towns) — was kept in the village for months by force and was not evacuated by the Azeri authorities deliberately, in order that they may be used as human shields.
Residents of Khojaly, coming out through a humanitarian corridor that the self-defense forces of Karabakh had left open, freely passed for more than 6 miles and reached the City of Aghdam, controlled by Azerbaijani troops. Later, not far from the positions of Azerbaijani troops, dead bodies in the village were found. A Parliamentary commission investigating the tragic death of the civilians at Aghdam was dissolved by the order of Heydar Aliyev, the investigative materials have been kept secret since.