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Baku denies brutal treatment of Armenian prisoners of war

The Foreign Ministry commented on the charges of brutal treatment of Armenian prisoners of war, contained in a report by Human Rights Watch

BAKU, March 23. /TASS/. Azerbaijan denies charges of brutal treatment of Armenian prisoners of war, contained in a report by Human Rights Watch, the country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on Tuesday.

"Azerbaijan is committed to the observance of international norms concerning humanitarian law and human rights. We dismiss Human Rights Watch accusations some prisoners of war were subjected to treatment violating the Geneva Convention," Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said.

It described the report as "biased and not reflecting the objective reality" and based on groundless charges.

"All Armenian prisoners of war and civilians were treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention. They were not subjected to any torture, humiliation of maltreatment. All of them received the necessary medical assistance and were examined by medics. The examinations found no traces of traumas or injuries, except for those received in combat," the statement runs.

Baku stressed once again that Azerbaijan had released to Armenia all prisoners of war in accordance with the trilateral statement of November 9, 2020, adding that the Armenian citizens still kept in its custody could not be regarded as prisoners of war.

"The Armenian side tries to mix up contexts: those detained in Azerbaijan following the signing of the November 9, 2020 trilateral statement cannot be regarded as prisoners of war. Persons sent to the country’s territory from Armenia for committing acts of terror and sabotage are not prisoners of war from the standpoint of international law and cannot be regarded as such. They must be brought to justice in accordance with Azerbaijan’s criminal legislation. All of them are treated in accordance with international humanitarian law and the country’s legislation. We stress once again that all persons classified as prisoners of war have been released," the Foreign Ministry said.

Baku urged Human Rights Watch to pay attention to the "instances of brutal treatment of Azerbaijani prisoners of war and civilians by the Armenian side, as well as the thousands of Azerbaijanis who remain unaccounted for."

Tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh surged up on September 27. Intensive hostilities followed. Baku and Yerevan have disputed the region since February 1988, when Nagorno-Karabakh declared secession from the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on November 9 signed a joint statement on the full cessation of hostilities in Karabakh. The Azerbaijani and Armenian forces stopped at the positions they were holding at that moment. A number of territories was transferred to Baku’s control. Russian peacekeepers were deployed along the engagement line and the Lachin corridor.