The Budapest Times, Hungaria
Oct 7 2012
PM defends transfer of axe murderer
Ombudsman renews request for documents on repatriation of Ramir Safarov
Posted on 07 October 2012
The decision to repatriate the convicted murderer of an Armenian
soldier to Azerbaijan was the correct one, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán
told Parliament on Monday. The handover of Ramir Safarov ` who was
pardoned and feted as a national hero upon his return to Baku `
sparked an international diplomatic incident at the end of August and
prompted Armenia to sever ties with Hungary.
Safarov had been serving a 30-year jail term for using an axe to slay
the soldier in his bed while both were attending a UN-sponsored
language course in Budapest in 2004.
Socialist MP and former foreign minister László Kovács had asked
Orbán to explain why the government had been satisfied with a pledge
by Azerbaijan not to commute Safarov’s sentence, when the country made
no specific pledge not to pardon him.
Orbán reiterated the government’s position that it acted in line with
international law. `We would have done the same if an Armenian had
killed an Azerbaijani,’ he was quoted as saying by state news agency
MTI. `Hungary should follow its own interests rather than those of
Armenia or Azerbaijan.’
He repeated the government’s denial that any kind of backroom deal
was struck with Baku. The transfer of Safarov meant the tension
between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed territory of
Nagorno-Karabakh was no longer a domestic problem, Orbán said.
`Hungary has got out of it by transferring the Azeri convict. As long
as he was here he caused plenty of conflicts and difficulties, and the
situation would not have changed in the future either.’
Ombudsman wants answers
In related news, the office of Fundamental Rights Ombudsman Máté Szabó
said on Tuesday that the Justice Ministry had not responded within 15
days to a request for information regarding Safarov’s repatriation.
The ministry responded by saying that Justice Minister Tibor
Navracsics had replied promptly to Szabó’s letter of 19 September,
asking the ombudsman to submit an official request for access to
Szabó had noted in his letter that Hungarian law prevents the
repatriation of a convicted criminal in the absence of assurances that
he will serve out the remainder of his sentence. The documents
released by the government as the scandal broke in the days following
Safarov’s release contained no assurances from the Azeri side that the
murderer would not be pardoned, referring only to a clause in the
relevant treaty that prevents the alteration of the sentence.