Azeri Soldier Defects To Armenia – Armenian Defense Ministry


Interfax News Agency
Russia & CIS
March 12 2008

Private Yagub Alaverdy-ogly Mukhtarov, an Azeri citizen, has
intentionally defected to the Armenian side, and explained his
decision because of hazing in his army unit, the Armenian Defense
Ministry said in a press statement on Wednesday.

The defection took place on March 9 on the border stretch near the
village of Kollagir in Armenia’s Tavush region, the press service said.

"According to Mukhtarov’s statements, on March 9 he once again asked
the platoon commander to send him to a medical unit because of his
illness. After being refused he tried to ask the brigade commander
but was beaten up. Then he left his weapon in the trench and fled,"
the statement said.

"Multiple bruises and healed scars were found on Mukhtarov’s body,"
the Armenian Defense Ministry said.

There have already been cases where Azeri soldiers flee to Armenia
and Nagorno Karabakh because of hazing. All of them were returned to
Azerbaijan. There was only one case when a soldier, who refused to
go back to Azerbaijan, was sent by the International Red Cross from
Armenia to a third country in late 2007.