BAKU, September 1 (Itar-Tass) —— Hungary’s repatriation of Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov, jailed for life, was carried out on the basis of the European convention on the extradition of convicts, Azerbaijani presidential staff official told the local media on Friday.
Fuad Aleskerov, the chief of law enforcement agencies relations department, recalled that Azerbaijan had joined the convention back in 2000.
“Under the clauses of that convention contacts were established with the Hungarian government agencies concerned and intensive negotiations held on Ramil Safarov’s repatriation,” Aleskerov said. He said that under the convention “any signatory is free to pardon or amnesty the extradited person or to ease punishment in accordance with its own constitution or other legal acts.”
Ramil Safarov has already served more than eight years of his term. Under item 22 of article 109 of the Azerbaijani constitution the question of his pardon is the exclusive prerogative of the head of state. The president displayed great humanism to use this power of his,” Aleskerov said.
He acknowledged that there had existed certain problems over Hungary’s decision to repatriate Safarov, because “the process was politicized by the Armenian side from the outset.” Besides, as follows from what Aleskerov said, Safarov’s trial was accompanied by great procedural violations.
“During the investigation he had to testify in Russian, although his knowledge of the language is poor. During the preliminary questioning he had no lawyer, and the bill of indictment was presented in Turkish,” he said.
While undergoing instruction at NATO’s courses in Budapest in 2004, senior lieutenant Safarov killed Armenian army serviceman Gurgen Markarian, who, he claimed, had insulted the Azerbaijani flag. In April 2006 a court in Budapest sentenced Safarov to the life imprisonment. On Friday he was extradited to Baku, where he was pardoned and set free.
Earlier, Armenia’s president Serzh Sargsyan said that Yerevan had suspended diplomatic relations and all official contacts with Hungary in response to Budapest’s decision to repatriate Safarov.