Armenia still seeks extradition of Azeri suspected war criminal after Russia released him


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 22, ARMENPRESS. Russian authorities contacted Armenian police in the afternoon of February 21 to notify about the arrest of Kamil Zeynalli, the Azeri national wanted by Armenia on suspicion of war crimes committed during the 2020 war.

Despite Armenia having confirmed the arrest warrant for Zeynalli, the Russian authorities apparently set him free after a brief detention in Moscow.

In response to the Russian authorities’ notification, Armenia immediately confirmed that the Azeri national is on its wanted list. “Despite the reports about the wanted man’s release, the ministry of internal affairs has initiated the preparation of a package of documents envisaged by the extradition procedure, which will be submitted to the General Prosecutor’s Office of Armenia for conveying it to the Russian law enforcement authorities with the purpose of carrying out the required actions for organizing the future extradition process,” Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesperson Narek Sargsyan told Armenpress.

Russian authorities released Azerbaijani national Kamil Zeynalli after briefly detaining him at a Moscow airport on February 21 pursuant to an Armenian international arrest warrant.

Kamil Zeynalli’s lawyer Alekber Garayev told Azeri media that his client is wanted by Armenia under Article 135 (crimes against humanity), 147 (mercenaryism) and 149 (aggression) of the Armenian Criminal Code.

Other media reports said Zeynalli is also wanted under Article 140 (war crimes committed through prohibited methods of warfare).

Zeynalli is on Armenia’s interstate wanted list, Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesperson Narek Sargsyan told Armenpress on February 21.  “The mentioned individual is on the interstate wanted list on a murder charge,” he said. He did not elaborate.

Although initial media reports said the Azeri national would face a Russian court on February 22, he then flew to Baku and gave a press briefing in the airport.

According to unconfirmed media reports, Kamil Zeynalli is suspected of war crimes committed during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war when he fought from the Azeri side against Armenian forces, particularly of killing and beheading an elderly civilian hostage. According to the media reports, Zeynalli is a recipient of Azeri medals for his military service.  According to the reports, the man is now a 'blogger' and a ‘fitness trainer’.