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Azerbaijani president says accusations in “Safarov case” ungrounded

September 10, 2012, 22:05 UTC+3

Everything was done by law and in accordance with the adopted European conventions, Aliyev said

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BAKU, September 10 (Itar-Tass) — Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said the accusations against country in the so-called Ramil Safarov case are ungrounded.

“Some international entities and politicians have come up with ungrounded accusations against Azerbaijan. They are unfounded. Everything was done by law and in accordance with the adopted European conventions,” Aliyev said on Monday, September 10, when visiting a new settlement built for forced migrants affected by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Aliyev criticised the Council of Europe and said that this organisation “has repeatedly put forth ungrounded accusations Azerbaijan”.

“I know this because I led the delegation of our country to the Council of Europe for three years. They put pressure on us in order to make us free criminals. I remember that one of them was a criminal who was released on the insistence of the Council of Europe. But several months later he committed a new crime and killed a whole family. And now the same Council of Europe that demanded a release of that person is accusing me of pardoning Ramil Safarov,” the president said.

He mentioned the case of Anders Breivik who had been sentenced to 21 years in prison for killing almost 80 people. “He got a punishment of three months for each of the killed persons. How can that be possible? Why do they keep silent?” he said.

“All this cannot and will never affect my will, opinion and actions,” Aliyev said.

Safarov, an Azerbaijani army officer who had been serving a life sentence in Hungary for the brutal 2004 murder of an Armenian officer in Budapest, was transferred from Hungary to Azerbaijan on August 31 on the basis of an Azerbaijani request under the Convention of Strasbourg on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons of March 21, 1983, to serve the rest of his sentence.

On August 31, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev made the decision to pardon Safarov.

Jean-Claude Mignon, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), said the international scandal involving the so-called “Safarov case” may have “very negative consequences” for already-strained relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“I join the international condemnation of the ‘glorification’ of the terrible crime which Mr Safarov has committed, and for which he has been condemned by a court in a Council of Europe member state,” he said. “His liberation is unacceptable, and I am extremely disappointed by the abusive use of a Council of Europe legal instrument in this affair.”

“This scandalous liberation is having very negative consequences on the already-strained relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and also risks destabilising the situation in the region. I call on the Azeri authorities to reconsider their position, in line with the standards and the ethos of the Council of Europe,” Mignon concluded.

Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Stefan Fule, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, also voiced concern about the release of Safarov.

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