LOS ANGELES—Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian on Wednesday sent a letter to László Kálmán, Hunngary’s Consul General to Los Angeles decrying the latter’s government for extraditing Ramil Safarov to Baku.
Safarov, who was serving a life sentence in Budapest for the killing an Armenian soldier Gurgen Markarian with an axe in 2004, was pardoned upon arriving in Baku by Azeri president Ilham Aliyev last week. He was also promoted to a rank of general in the army.
Below is the text of Krekorian letter, which was also copied to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, members of the LA City Council and Armenia’s Consul General to Los Angeles, Grigor Hovannesian.
Dear Mr. Kálmán:
I join the Armenian-American community of Los Angeles in expressing my shock and anger over the Azerbaijani government’s outrageous pardon of Ramil Safarov – a convicted murderer who was found guilty in a Hungarian court of savagely killing an Armenian lieutenant, Gurgen Markarian, with an ax as the victim slept. Moreover, I am bewildered by the Hungarian government’s inexplicable decision to allow these circumstances to take place by extraditing this murderer to his home country, especially since his home country has a long and demonstrated policy of supporting hatred and violence toward Armenians.
By pardoning Safarov, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev has once more demonstrated to the world his devotion to intolerance, hate and division, not peace and understanding. By providing Safarov a hero’s welcome in Baku, and promoting his military rank, Mr. Aliyev and his government have sent a clear and despicable message to the country’s population and to the international community: in Azerbaijan, the murder of Armenians is not only tolerated, it is encouraged, celebrated and rewarded.
As the first Armenian-American elected official in the history of the City of Los Angeles, and as the descendant of Armenian immigrants who fled genocide, I am repulsed by the actions of the Azerbaijani government and I am stunned by Hungary’s role in facilitating them. On behalf of the Armenian-American community of Los Angeles, and all Angelenos who care about justice, I therefore call on the Hungarian government to provide a full explanation of its decision to release this murderer to a regime that continues to demonstrate pride in its own inhumanity. I invite you to contact me directly at (213) 473-7002 so that we can meet in person to discuss your government’s actions in this case.
The Hungarian people have a long and proud history of standing courageously for freedom and justice, and sadly, they have too often suffered the tragic and violent consequences of intolerance, oppression and tyranny. I certainly would have hoped that that history would guide your government’s actions with regard to the extradition of a barbaric murderer, convicted of a vicious hate crime, to a nation as bellicose as Azerbaijan. I hope that in the aftermath of these circumstances your government will stand firm in your commitment to human rights and justice, and that you will clearly condemn Azerbaijan’s horrific actions in freeing and lionizing this savage murderer.
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
Very truly yours,
Councilmember, 2nd District