Arayik Harutyunyan and other leaders of unrecognized regime in Karabakh arrested
Arrests of “NKR” leaders
Azerbaijan continues to arrest those holding leading positions in the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. A day ago, former presidents of the unrecognized republic Arayik Harutyunyan, Arkady Ghukasyan, Bako Sahakyan, as well as former chairman of the parliament of the self-proclaimed regime David Ishkhanyan were detained and arrested. All are charged with terrorism, grave crimes against peace and humanity.
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Arayik Harutyunyan is charged under more than 9 articles of the AR Criminal Code
Arayik Harutyunyan, former leader of the unrecognized NKR, was detained as part of an investigation conducted jointly by the General Prosecutor’s Office and the State Security Service of Azerbaijan.
“The investigation centers around allegations of crimes against peace and humanity, war crimes, terrorism and other offenses committed by illegal Armenian armed groups in Karabakh,” the General Prosecutor’s Office and the State Security Service said in a joint statement.
It is noted that Arayik Harutyunyan, “born in 1973 and hailing from the Azerbaijani town of Khankendi, was involved in organizing a war of aggression on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan. It was found that while holding the position of “President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic” and other related “positions”, Harutyunyan was actively engaged in recruiting, training and financing mercenaries, as well as their participation in the armed conflict and military operations.
In addition to these charges, Harutyunyan is accused of organizing and coordinating the activities of unauthorized armed groups, supplying these groups with weapons, ammunition and military equipment, smuggling weapons into Azerbaijan and providing financial support to terrorism.
Moreover, Arutyunyan is charged with authorizing the launching of ballistic missiles and other munitions at residential areas and civilian structures in the densely populated city of Ganja, as well as at settlements in the Barda district located outside the frontline zone.”
During the second Karabakh war, Ganja was hit by 5 rocket attacks, killing 27 civilians and injuring 125 others. Two rockets fired at Barda killed 26 civilians and wounded 105.
According to official information, Harutyunyan was detained on October 3 this year by the State Security Service in the city of Khankendi (Stepanakert) and charged under various articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan, including articles 100 (planning and implementation of aggressive war), 116 (violation of international humanitarian law during armed conflicts), 117 (giving illegal orders during armed conflicts), 120 (premeditated murder), 214 (terrorism), 214-1 (financing of terrorism), 214-3 (conducting exercises for the purpose of terrorism), 218 (organization of criminal association), 279 (establishment of illegal armed formations) and others.
Harutyunyan potentially faces life imprisonment on the above-mentioned charges.
Arayik Harutyunyan was the President of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic since May 21, 2020. He stepped down on August 31, 2023. Samvel Shahmaryan was elected in his place.
Two more former presidents and a former speaker arrested
According to APA news agency, today (September 5) a measure of restraint in the form of detention has been chosen against Bako Sahakian, Arkadiy Ghukasian and David Ishkhanian.
On the eve the information about their detention was disseminated in pro-governmental media. The SGB and the General Prosecutor’s Office have not confirmed or denied this information yet.
All of them have been arrested for four months for the period of investigative measures.
“300 separatists are wanted.”
On September 27, 55-year-old Ruben Vardanyan, former state minister of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, was detained and arrested.
On September 29, Leva Mnatsakanyan, who served as Defense Minister of the unrecognized NKR in 2015-2018 and other senior positions in the self-proclaimed entity, David Babayan, who worked as Assistant to the President of the unrecognized NKR in 2013-2023, as well as former deputy commander of Armenian armed formations in Karabakh Davit Manukyan were detained.
All have been charged with terrorism, grave crimes against peace and humanity.
Azerbaijani Prosecutor General Kamran Aliyev said recently that Azerbaijan has put “over 300 Armenian separatists accused of committing grave crimes” on the wanted list.
“We have collected evidence related to these crimes. A total of 300 such criminal cases have been initiated. More than 300 accused of these crimes have been put on international wanted list. There is evidence in these cases,” he stated.