Armenians burn Hungary flags in protest over killer’s return

Gulf Today, UAE
Sept 1 2012

Armenians burn Hungary flags in protest over killer’s return

September 01, 2012

YEREVAN: Hundreds protested outside the Hungarian consulate in Yerevan
on Saturday after Budapest sent a soldier who murdered an Armenian
back to his native Azerbaijan, where he was immediately pardoned.

Several hundred angry demonstrators burned the Hungarian flag and
threw eggs, tomatoes and coins, accusing Budapest of doing a deal with
Baku in order to profit from Azerbaijan’s energy riches.

`The Hungarians have sold their honour and conscience to the
Azerbaijanis like a common prostitute,’ protest organiser Armen
Mkrtchian told the media.

Yerevan on Friday cut diplomatic ties with Hungary, which Armenian
President Serzh Sarkisian said had made a `grave mistake’ in
extraditing the killer, who axed his victim to death in Budapest in
2004.

US President Barack Obama also said he was `deeply concerned’ about the pardon.

Azerbaijani lieutenant Ramil Safarov was jailed for life after hacking
Armenian officer Gurgen Margarian to death at a military academy in
Budapest where the servicemen were attending English-language courses
organised by Nato.

Safarov claimed that Margarian had insulted Azerbaijan, which fought a
brutal war with Armenia over the disputed region of Nagorny Karabakh
in the 1990s.

In another move that will infuriate Armenia, Azerbaijan on Saturday
reinstated Safarov to the army and promoted him to the rank of major.

`Defence Minister Safar Abiyev received him, handed him his new rank
and wished him success in his future military service,’ a defence
ministry statement said.

Azerbaijan also hit back at US criticism, insisting that the pardon
awarded Safarov after he had served eight years of his sentence
conformed with a European legal convention on extradition.

Armenia-backed separatists seized Nagorny Karabakh from Azerbaijan in
the war that left some 30,000 people dead.

The two sides have not signed a final peace deal since the 1994
ceasefire and there are still regular firefights along the Karabakh
frontline.

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